Gender equality means equal rights, obligations, responsibilities, and opportunities for women and men and girls and boys. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world.
Hand in Hand for Women is an association fighting for women’s rights and gender equality. Gender Equality constitutes the fundamental value of our association.
To work for increasing gender equality is to work for all people to be able to shape their lives as individuals, without perceptions of gender limiting us. The reports and the publications of the association serve the purpose of gender equality and women’s rights.
In February 2020, we protested Turkey’s “Marry Your Rapist Bill” that can free pedophiles who have raped girls if the perpetrator marries the child. We claim that the law will lead to even more violence and sexual exploitation of women and children in Turkey. We called all women’s rights organizations and feminist governments to protest and fight against the bill to stop it from approval in Turkey.
Hand in Hand for Women wrote the text “Call for Support to Protest Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention”. To raise awareness of the Istanbul Convention, violence against women, and gender equality, the association emailed the text to some associations, politicians, media institutions. The association plans to continue to raise awareness of the Istanbul Convention through several activities.
On March 8, 2020, on International Women’s Day, the association published the report “Political Persecution and Intersections of Violence against Women in Turkey: Stories of forced migrants” on various types of violence to which women are exposed. The report aims:
- To underline the massive extend of political persecution and human rights violations in Turkey affecting thousands of people including women and children,
- To integrate the gender aspect to studies on torture and ill-treatment and violence against women in Turkey under detention/imprisonment,
- To voice the stories of forced migrants of Turkey to create a better understanding of their presence in Europe.
Besides the reports and actions, our projects aim to ensure equality for all women with a specific focus on immigrant women. We encourage immigrant women to fully integrate and enable them to stand on their own feet and ease their integration into the Swedish Society. According to the reports of the EU on the integration of migrant women: “Mastering the host country’s language and accessing its labor market are 2 key steps of the integration process for all migrants. But migrant women also often take on family and childcare obligations which may hamper this process. Consequently, they have worse employment outcomes in comparison with migrant men and native-born women. This is because migrant women face challenges and barriers as both migrants and women; a double disadvantage that is consistently confirmed by research” (Integration of migrant women, 2018).
In order to contribute to the equal participation of newcomer women to Sweden from the social, cultural, and economic perspectives we organized some online projects during the coronavirus pandemic.
Digital Samtal is the project on series of informative seminars for immigrant women. Hand in Hand for Women collaborates with distinguished organizations including The Swedish Women´s Lobby, ABF, RIFFI Migrant Women and Jobbtorget for the full integration of immigrant women and prevent the inequalities.
The first conversation was held with AnnaStina Johansson who is the organization secretary for the Swedish Women’s Lobby on 26 June 2020. She presented Sweden’s Women’s Lobby and their project aimed at immigrant women in Sweden. The second conversation was held with Irene Opira who is Secretary-General of RIFFI on 7 August 2020. She addressed important issues of women’s rights and the projects of RIFFI.
For the economic integration of the newcomer immigrant women, in the third Digital Samtal, we cooperate with Jobtorget to organize an informational online conference “Jobs and Studies in Sweden” on 14 November 2020 at 13.00. We plan to hold the fourth conversation with the Police and the topic will be “Police working methods to prevent violence against women”.
The project was previously called “Digital Fika” is now becoming a study circle at ABF Norra Stockholms Län and changing its name to “Svensk Konversation – Digital Fika”.
The project aims to ensure that women do not lose their activities in socio-psychological terms. We encourage women to actively use the Swedish language during the pandemic days when social life is limited. Firstly, Svensk Konversation – Digital Fika started with 230 members and it currently continues with 136 newly arrived women and 30 Swedish women.
BokCirkel is an on-line book club where we provide an opportunity to read books and self-improvement of immigrants. We collaborate with FOLK i Skärholmen and ABF for foreign women’s integration and hold digital book circles to build a stronger society, improve participants’ Swedish, encourage them to read, make more friends from different cultures and learn Swedish culture, history, and literature. The project is now being implemented with 154 participants and 27 volunteers in 27 groups. Each group meets on a digital platform once a week and discusses what they have read that week.
To sum up, the aim of the establishment and projects of the Hand in Hand for Women are to encourage women to integrate from the social, cultural, and economic perspective, also prevent the inequality that could be a result of language, ethnicity, and gender. We strongly believe and fight for gender equality. In order to dispose of the obstacles that prevent integration and equal participation of the newcomer immigrant women in Sweden, we conduct these projects.
An equal future is possible if we fight for it. Hand in Hand for Women is fighting for gender equality.