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Gender Equality in Culture

16. 9. 2020

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City of Women – Association for Promotion of Women in Culture, in cooperation with Motovila and the City of Ljubljana, is inviting experts to the conference

Gender Equality in Culture

on Friday, 25 September 2020, from 11.00 to 14.00, at the Old Power Station in Ljubljana and online.

Free entrance. In English.

Programme

11.00–12.00

Gender Equality – A Means to Succeeding in Achieving the

Seventeen UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030)

Lecture by Else Christensen-Redzepovic

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A. It can be attended by visiting a live public screening at the Old Power Station or by joining the Zoom conference.

In both cases, registration is obligatory: rezervacije@cityofwomen.org.

12.00–14.00

Gender Equality in Culture

Workshop

The workshop can be attended at the Old Power Station or by joining the Zoom conference. Obligatory applications (until all open spots are filled): rezervacije@cityofwomen.org.

Organisation: City of Women, in cooperation with Motovila (Creative Europe Desk Slovenia) and the City of Ljubljana (European Capital of Culture 2025 Candidate City); support: Ministry of Culture, City of Ljubljana.

Gender Equality – A Means to Succeeding in Achieving the

Seventeen UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030)

Opening address by Else Christensen-Redzepovic, the conference guest

With global challenges such as climate changes, global pandemics, inequality, poverty, migration, and growing nationalism, is it the right time to discuss gender equality? Well, yes, more than ever.

Globally, women have fewer opportunities for economic participation than men, less access to basic and higher education, greater health and safety risks, and less political representation. Guaranteeing the rights of women and giving them opportunities to reach their full potential is critical not only for attaining gender equality, but also for meeting a wide range of international development goals. Empowered women and girls contribute to the health and productivity of their families, communities, and countries, creating a ripple effect that benefits everyone. 

This is why Gender Equality is singled out as one of Unesco’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and not just a subheading under the “Equality” goal.

24 years ago, in 1995, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted at the United Nations Fourth World Conference in Beijing. In 2015, the European Union adopted its Strategy for Equality between Women and Men and the new global framework for development was adopted the same year with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals specifically stating equality between women and men as well as women’s rights.

But despite decades of work on achieving gender equality in the world as well as in the EU, inequalities still exist. In fact, in many fields, inequality has increased. In Europe, factors such as the enlargement and transition of the EU, a decade of recession and austerity, migration crisis, climate challenges, and the rise of populist nationalist movements in parts of Europe, have distracted political efforts away from promoting core European values such as the equality between women and men, human rights and social justice. Inequality, both within and across countries has increased in the past 15 years and in some countries women’s rights are even diminishing.

Populist and conservative forces in Europe are increasingly organising themselves to question the very principle of equality between women and men. This movement is attempting to push women back into stereotype roles and limit their engagement in political and public life.

But there are some positive achievements at the EU level. The three main achievements are:

1)      The equal treatment legislation

2)      Gender mainstreaming and integration of the gender perspective into all policies

3)      Specific measures for the advancement of women.

The efforts of this work can be seen in higher numbers of women on the labour market as well as progress in better education and training.

However, gender gaps remain and on the labour market women are still overrepresented in lower paid sectors and underrepresented in decision-making positions.

The former Juncker Commission took clear and important steps in gender equality, and the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has gender equality as one of her priorities for the New Commission. A number of concrete measures are planned, such as addressing the gender pay gap, as well as the development of a new European Gender Equality Strategy to be launched in 2020.

Gender equality is transversal, and thus goes across all political fields. Therefore, the topic of gender equality was included in von der Leyen’s mission letters to all newly appointed Commissioners. It is encouraging to note that the Commissioner in charge of culture, Mariya Gabriel, is expressing a particular interest in gender equality in her words and actions.

The film sector, the world of theatre, and many other cultural sectors have been in the #metoo initiative’s focus. The testimonies and experiences that emerged resulted in a major drive to do more. This is not only a matter of anti-discrimination. It is something that concerns us all – a challenge that must be addressed by both men and women in unison.

The Creative Europe programme has already contributed to raising the issue of gender equality and the new Creative Europe programme 2021–2027 (which still needs to be approved) continues in this line.

But as gender equality is a transversal topic in the EU, other European funding programmes may also be relevant to look into.

In its current Work Plan for Culture (2019–2022), the Council of the European Union has selected gender equality as one of the five priorities. It recognises that culture has a key role to play in challenging stereotypes and promoting changes in society. Intersectional gender gaps persist in almost all cultural and creative sectors and they need to be acknowledged and tackled by specific policies and measures.

Representatives appointed by the EU Member States have formed an expert group who will be meeting several times in the next months to exchange information amongst themselves and with the European Commission on the state of affairs on gender equality as well as good practices in the EU and in national states. The main aim of the group is to raise awareness on gender equality in the cultural and creative sectors at political, administrative, and practical levels, and to propose concrete measures under the new Creative Europe programme.

When discussing gender equality, there is frequently a call for fact and figures to underpin arguments and needs for actions when discussing these issues, seeking funding and attention to the subject. Therefore, the resources and services provided by the European Institute for Gender Equality can offer the tools for finding facts on gender equality in the EU. 

With the workshop, we endeavour to move gender equality debates from theory, policy, and good intentions to concrete action points: project ideas and discussions on how different non-governmental organisations, networks and institutions could commit to implementing specific actions. We will discuss three areas of gender equality:

1)      What are the main gender gaps and the main drivers for the gaps in the cultural and creative sectors?

2)      How to ensure that female professionals are given the same opportunities as their male colleagues in the cultural and creative sectors?

3)      What measures, if any, are required to promote women’s rights and freedoms to participate in the cultural activities of their choice?

Each topic will be introduced briefly by Else Christensen-Redzepovic, upon which the participants will break into three online subgroups to discuss the topic of choice. Each group will have a moderator and a rapporteur. The outputs from the discussions will be presented at the end of the workshop session.

Else Christensen-Redzepovic is an expert and advisor on international cultural relations at MIDENA Creatives. Her expertise is social entrepreneurship, European Capitals of Culture, culture for peace, trust and understanding, culture for innovation, EU programs and project management, research, advocacy, and fundraising. She holds a master’s degree in political science from KU Leuven and a bachelor of honours degree in Germanic studies from the University of Melbourne. She also holds diplomas in executive management, project management, and public administration. Else has a long track record of developing and leading complex and large-scale transnational EU projects focusing on the empowerment of local communities and sustainable urban and regional development. In March 2019, she was appointed project manager of Voices of Culture – Structured Dialogue between the European Commission and the Cultural Sector project.

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