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Press Note, Brussels on May 3, 2020

Press Note

On May 1, six women from different political parties gathered to discuss Post-Containment, an opportunity to advance the construction of equity for women. Organized by SIEMPRE in collaboration with Le collective de Femmes de Louvain La Neuve and Le Monde According to Women. With a duration of 1hr.37 min we had discussed different Action and Work Plan with the women.

The point that each one has been mentioned coincides in the collaborations in the different levels of governments, with organizations and the population. Now, faced with the post COVID-19 crisis, new economic, social and recovery scenarios are urgent.

Among the public comments are mentioned:

the need for an improvement in the penalties for violence against women, the regularization of migrant and undocumented women, a universal basic income for all and especially for women, special consideration for single-parent women with small children, beware of mental illnesses that are considered in the services of the mutual, medical aid without conditions, Strengthen feminist solidarity and with women in the South and a priority attention to violence, punishment and alternatives of stay to regularize, alternative for the ‘accommodation.

Thamara Cruz coordinator, Amancay Dégas Moderator and Katinka in ‘t Zandt family planning psychologist.

Speakers transcripts.

Hélène Ryckmans Member of Parliament, Senator and Member of Parliament for Wallonia, interacting between different levels of power and advancing management in the face of emergency health, at the provincial, regional and government levels, set out to find violence for women, migrant women and homeless. Open violent hotlines so that you can respond. Accommodation places are in the process of finding solutions.

Joelle Kapompole, Member of Parliament for Wallonia, Vice-president of the Commission for monitoring the Parliament of Wallonia on COVID-19, make the visibility that ignites inequality to integrate the gender dimension into strategies and the post-containment plan from intersectionality this crisis project all discrimination and the growth of class, gender and race to find solutions to violence against women, control and evaluation of policies to demonstrate the links between the different level and with the experiences of the ground. Especially for women, migrant and independent women and to support the hospital professions and family helpers because they have to be supported and shows how much women are in different contexts.

Saskia Bricmont, Member of the European Parliament, Libé Commission: Justice, Migration and Civil Liberties, International Trade Commission, Co-chair of children’s rights. May Day is used to celebrate women workers, those who work on the front line, in the health sector, workers and other sectors that are not considered, also from a salary and societal point of view. There is a vulnerable public who are structurally in difficulty and with the crisis had exacerbated such as precariousness and among others violence, domestic violence and gender-based harassment and online violence behind the screens and which must be tackled. At the European level, there are measures related to women which are moving across the board, gender mainstreaming admits in all texts and that it is a question of adopting effective policies and emergency measures to fight the consequences of crisis, they find little in the specific orientation related to women and gender. This is an observation that calls out that continues to mobilize and make it truly effective in all policies, emergency measures towards all the agricultural, health and SME sectors through actions such as: -Gender budgeting which is already taking place at the level of different municipalities but not yet at the European level but they are in the process of voting to integrate it. -The relaunch plan with the desire to have a gender approach in the relaunch policy to avoid spending billions of euros on the relaunch, but do we want to be a new world? The advantages taken into account such as: environment, solidarity and the place of women, those who are in the first league and the issue of wage inequality and gender violence, the gender issue must be found transversally. The third is the work program of the European Commission which works with the European Parliament and the need for intersectionality with its several dimensions, LGBTII equality, publication of transparency and equal pay and the inclusion and equality of ROME. The European Union ratified, sign and allocate a budget (193 million euros) in the next European financial framework, as of today it is not going so that the Istanbul convention is effectively reinforced and that the fight against violence is one of the priorities. Work together at all levels of power and with organizations on the ground, a strategy that must come from the European Commission on the rights of victims to include in European provisions and legislation to validate violence against women as a crime and listed explicitly recognized at the level of the European Union to act and have effective prosecution in all EU Member States. Other aspects to work on is the collection of statistical data at European level, key element to ensure effective policies behind as well as other legislative instruments.

Esther Ingabire Women’s Rights Unit in representation of Minister Bénédicte Linard in Government of the Wallonia Federation, The Women’s Rights decree was adopted on Monday (04/27) almost unanimously by the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, it This women’s plan was fed by the consultation of associations in the field with a proposal to be adopted by the entire government of the FWB and that this transversal plan be adopted and integrated into their Ministerial policies with measures concerned with the education such as non-gender textbooks and was discussed with the cabinet of the Minister of Education. This Women’s Rights Plan has four axes of work which are: -The fight against violence against women, The deconstruction of stereotypes, -The effect of acting on the representations: ‘to ensure a better representation of women in all sectors at all levels and professional positions. -A better reconciliation between private and professional life. At the level of the fight against violence against women, the leads are drawn towards the Istanbul Convention and in the period of confinement are involved in strengthening with regional ministers, field organizations to work on measures to improve reception and accommodation for female victims during this period. The cabinet of Minister Linard works in a transversal manner and puts a gender vision in each of its policies, for example in the childhood unit there is a study of cyber violence of young people which has been carried out and on which they are in the process of to work, also with other levels of Federal power and the region, the support of mothers in prison which are forgotten and poorly managed subjects, the firm also works via the offer, via the price or the sensitization of the reception environment and of out-of-school community this is one of the measures provided for with the women’s rights plan it is the training of staff in the host environment in order to avoid and reproduce stereotypes and representations linked to gender it is a priority of eductions from which start from the youngest ages. At the culture unit level, we are in the process of making a cadastre of the presence of women in the different sectors concerned, to bring to light and know in figures the representation of women in the different sectors of culture, to improve the representation of women in the bodies decisions and that is not winning because we also note that in the medium of culture as of childhood are predominantly female but in the management position we often find men it is they who take decision-making for the community and finally the media since March 8 with the help of the association of professional journalists have succeeded in adopting a chart for a better media treatment for violence against women, there is still work to be done but it is well received by the French-speaking media and will be setting up gender training and being able to support and help them with media treatment.

Nevruz Unal Alderman of the Municipality of Ixelles contracts district of urban renewal and legal affairs, since the crisis and in local work and especially in the field, before talking about task forces of the place of women in high positions decisions, today the crisis situation after COVID-19 which will worsen the social and economic situation of women and families, the last few weeks it is the impotence of certain public services that its underfunded for years in the medical sector, household help, employees and users of CPAS and at the local level they have united with public actors such as the Social Cohesion and prevention services to testify on the ground about the difficulties that some women have , single-parent families, the Horeca which has closed and the economic community which is at a standstill means that those who some are who do not work, who did not receive economic aid and who live in precariousness. Since March 8 the International Women’s Day with and especially the PTB at that time which had proposed it is a motion of gender equality and with which of course they agree. It is a subject where we have delicate and difficult times all over the world and that there is ultimately a solidarity of women around the world and in every political party to move and act. Currently, the gender motions for the PS group to study economic topics such as the wages of women, equal pay for women, decision-making positions in large companies. The problem of homelessness, the undocumented, that for them it is a problem and it is difficult to find accommodation places to find accommodation because in Ixelles the places to live for accommodation are precarious and real estate with the prices which are expensive, and we as public actors we try to buy goods but it is difficult therefore it is necessary to have the help of the region, with the COCOF and 1000 Brussels and the municipality of Etterbeek so the strong links of working with the other Communes so as not to remain isolated, we have to work all together, there is no choice. In the district contract, the chance that there is is the direct link with the non-profit organizations that the Municipality finances and with the weakened public and we are working on unsold, the quantity of food from supermarkets that is thrown away per day and with the CPAS, the non-profit organizations and the Social Cohesion to distribute this food then it is us politicians who move if not it is the people who are waking up and it is waking up at the level of the people I strongly wish it. In a state of law that has passed from the age of socialism and two wars, it is with this crisis that shows how far we had cut public services and privatized until they lose control and leave it in part to the association and the call to volunteering, at a given moment you have to think, move, react and not just talk and fight for this social justice equity, some are women, men, children and more disadvantaged.

Mary Nagy Deputy Défi, Municipal Councilor at the City of Brussels, this generation has not experienced similar crises, with very strong consequences and we can criticize the system, but for five weeks it has been at the federal, regional and communities, the public authorities are responding in one way or another to very great emergencies: temporary unemployment, right to bridge, to give income to people who overnight find themselves without jobs, the crisis makes broke out of precarious and difficult situation, visualizes them even more than as we could see them before. There is a mobilization on the side of the Brussels Region which can be seen where there has been more than 300 million euros in the budget for five weeks in order to face these dramatic situations. For people who are in the street with or without paper, hotels have been requisitioned, for women victims of violence we have also requisitioned accommodation and reactivated the toll-free number 080030030 and which is a number to report violence also in the pharmacy, the hotel there are now 25 people accommodated and fed. There is a lot of solidarity in the institutional system and also in the systems of Asbl, and of people. There would be a time to analyze and assess what was done well and what was not done well. In the Brussels Region in any case, there is a work attentive to women, to the undocumented and attentive to people in difficulty. Reminds us that there are also premiums Horeca, stores and traders that will allow them to raise their heads a little, there is also a tenant’s bonus all families and people who have difficulty paying their rent can claim a bonus of two hundred euros that the Region will make available. There is also a sector that greatly affects women and especially Latin American women, in particular the service voucher sector the decision was to ensure 95% of their income through unemployment benefits, there is a compensation that was decided by Minister that she failed. So, there are decisions that are made to face a social, economic and health crisis. Thank you to the people on the front lines in the social sector, the doctors, the people who cleanse I understand human and family distress. There is one issue that has not been well resolved and that is the issue of young parents and mothers in single parent families and the situation of telecommuting and all reimbursement of unpaid meals. So there is probably information there that is not fully supported. Usually do not hesitate to go to the CPAS and then respond to new needs that will arise. In the particular situation of women at the Federal level among Sophie Rohonyi MP in Challenge active in the matter to fight a lot so that Feminicide is recognized as a specific crime and at the level of the Chamber for the moment does not advance but it is some something we will come back to. As President of the Advisory Committee on Gender Equality at COCOF, in particular on harassment and cyber harassment, there are hearings but we must be able to make recommendations and proposals to fight against these scourges, the next session will be broadcast on the 6th but for those who are interested and have experts and manage to make proposals. We are attentive to the question of genderbudgeting, the Brussels Region has not yet fully assimilated me for all its policies there are Ministers who are concerned with gender on their policy but not, and in particular in social and health matters. is not yet quite the case, but in the advantages in Parliament there are many women active and present at all levels to try the gender perspective in future policies. For the increase in unemployment there will be skills recognition training but diplomas not recognized especially for migrants and could thus be included Actiris is present for this case. Each one in his level to make visible the incredible work to move forward and alleviate the suffering of people a little.

Written by Thamara Cruz.

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Madame Hélène Ryckmans Green Parliamentarian, Senator and Member of the Brabant …

Mrs Hélène Ryckmans Ecological Parliamentarian, Senator and Member of the Walloon Brabant, Joelle Kapompole Member of the PS, Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles,

Saskia Bricmont Euro Member of the Environment, Marie Nagy Member of the Brussels Regional Parliament, Esther Ingabire in the absence of the Minister Minister Bénédicte Linard Vice-President of Women’s Rights and Nevruz Unal, Echevine Bruxelles PS.

Cecilia Torres Environmental Advisor Ottignies-LLN, Amancay Dégas Collectif de Femmes LLN, Katinka ‘T Zandt Le Monde According to Women and Thamara Cruz SIEMPRE.

Following our meeting held on May 1st International Labor Day, please find here a summary with the specific themes and essential proposals dealt with in our dialogue. We thank you for your compromise and we are sure to build a path towards equity for women, migrant women and undocumented women living in Belgium. Here are the clear proposals that we ask of you for solidarity.

-We are sensitive to priority attention for the Immediate Humanitarian regularization of the legal status of undocumented migrant women who live in Belgium, (the example of Portugal). -Violence: As long as most of the violence against women and children occurs in private homes, the risk is constant. Women and their children cannot rent or move, urgently it is necessary to provide accommodation after COVID-19, and legally instrumentalize violence as a crime and feminicide. -Facilitate access to emergency food collars especially for undocumented women and families who are waiting to regularize their legal status (political refugees, asylum seekers), have access to dental medical services, and specialized. -Medical centers predict a high of unwanted pregnancies since COVID-19, it is necessary to create advertising campaigns throughout Belgium so that women and girls can know the services and information concerning the termination of pregnancies with or no regularized stay. -The precariousness of women with the crisis has stimulated their problem which becomes more and more unsustainable because they are 24 hours., With their aggressor, undocumented women will have to have access to regularization so as not to allow the dependence of their stay from his attacker. -The organizations that support women need more precise support and be able to offer solutions, after the crisis it is necessary to create a social contract with organizations in the field and in civil society to work together and effectively and coordinated. -The extension of confinement measures increases unemployment, financial insecurity and decreases their resilience in the face of precariousness, insalubrity and the absence of justice, increasing the risk of mental and post-traumatic illnesses derived from violence intra-family, the medical service such as psychologists, ethno-psychologists, psychologist and pedo-psychologists must be considered as part of the mutual health insurance as well as drugs, consultations and treatments which guarantee holistic human security. – It is extremely urgent to facilitate access to services in other languages ​​such as Spanish and Portuguese for the reception of women, to help them file legal complaints and receive the relevant guidelines for medical services, emergency and support in cases of domestic violence, sexual abuse, human trafficking: This service is necessary for women as well as for girls and children who do not speak any official language. – Facilitate the regularization of the stay of Latin American women who already work in the sector of care, cleaning, nursing aid and nurses. Written by Thamara Cruz with the conclusions of the Debate.