Empowerment is a process where we are all involved in. Empowerment means to us:
- to build up self-confidence and strength to overcome obstacles
- to get in contact with your emotions and become aware of the vividness of feeling
- to be game enough to express your own needs and boundaries
- to discover your own resources, make your own choices and create your life
- to identify with your body in respect, comfort, acceptance and love
- to have energy for changes and independence to connect with other girls and women
- to learn from each other and to make a difference
- to find one`s own way of being human, of being a women or a girl
overcome gender-based discrimination
Gender-based discrimination is still present in all societies of this world. Sometimes it looks as if Europe is so modern that discrimination is overcome. But that is not the case. Examples are
- one of three women aged older than 15 experienced sexual
of physical violence (more information)
- the gender-gap in payment in the EU shows that women’s gross hourly earnings were on average 16.4 % below those of men, the older women get the higher is their risk of poverty (more information)
- the sexualization and normalization of female bodies in media and advertisement, triple roles of women as mothers, wives and breadwinners, stereotypes and believes, as e.g.” you are only valuable as a girl if you are pretty, ambitious and behave well”.
- in north Africa the discrimination of females is even more obvious .
Sexual harassment of women in the public sphere, sexual violence, forced marriages, the exclusion from women of the workforce and the public space, high female illiteracy rates are some examples.
- Next to gender-based discrimination there are much more categories that are misused to discriminate people: because of the color of their skin, their sexual desire, their religion, their body etc.
In our empowerment-programs we want to create space beyond discrimination, space beyond fear and harassment, space beyond stereotypes and hierarchy.
We want to open space to be who you really are. We connect to the engagement of women to fight for women´s rights, women´s education, women´s self-determination. We believe that empowerment matters to overcome discrimination.
To empower Girls and young women
We have a special focus on the empowerment of girls and young women in Europe and North Africa.
Although girls and young women are often perceived as strong and being better educated as boys in Germany and some other European countries, the situation of girls and young women is much more complex there. Their discrimination is still widely spread. Some examples are e.g. sexual abuse, unification and objectivation through body- and sexual norms, different and often humiliating treatment through teachers, family members and peers. The in 2011 through the UN announced International Day of the Female Child is thus highly relevant here.
In North Africa girls and young women do even suffer from more obvious discrimination. Despite their diversity in class, educational, cultural and religious background many girls and young women suffer from psychological, physical, structural and institutional mistreatment and violence from childhood on. The CEDAW has been ratified in this region of the world only with restrictions and girls and young women are especially marginalized in political, legal and socio-cultural terms. Despite the engagement of women movements, NGOs and activists and despite of revolutionary developments patriarchal patterns are still inherited and transmitted through peer groups, media, families and educational institutions.
In Egypt the circumcision of the female child and the sexual harassment of girls and young women in the public sphere are e.g. widely and internationally recognized phenomena. Although here as well in Tunisia the female primary school rates are high, female school drop outs are widely spread at the country sides and within poor families. In both societies there is furthermore an unwritten rule that you should marry and have babies as a woman. Furthermore in both societies fathers, husbands and brothers often control the freedom of movement and the career choices of girls and young women.
celebrate our differences
We celebrate the differences among us, among all girls and women: being young and old, being black, white and colored, having special needs, being Muslim, Christian or atheist, being poor and rich, being lesbian, intersexual or heterosexual, being healthy and being sick, being more or less educated, exposed and experienced etc.
Think globally act locally
We think globally firstly in the sense that we are aware of the international dimension of gendered inequalities. We focus e.g. on the inequality of girls and boys in the MENA region and Europe while acknowledging that there are also cultural, country- and region specific tendencies. We think globally secondly in the sense that we are cooperating on an international level in order to overcome the discrimination of girls and young women. We think globally thirdly since we are aware that global solidarity and exchange between women is the essence to empower girls worldwide. Becoming aware of our prejudices, cultural bias, habits and rules is the fourth dimension of thinking globally which helps to contribute to a more peaceful and sustainable international cooperation towards gender justice.
We act locally by focusing on increasing the capacities of individuals, groups and organizations to contribute to the empowerment of girls in cities, communities, rural areas and sub-cultures. To act locally means also that we are trying to support local engagement and initiatives towards the empowerment of girls. To act locally means further to respect and consider local traditions, ways of empowerment, management and justice. To act locally finally comprises that we respect and value each girl as an individual with her own personal history, experience and potential. Empowerment is a political as well as a personal process that is based on the attitude and capacity to act, to create, to take influence and to be who you are.