Several feminist organisations have sent a road map to various political parties so that they set women’s issues as core to forthcoming government declarations.
This list of grievances – sent by groups including the Group for an End to the Sexual Mutilation of Women (Gams Belgium), the World according to Women and Female Life -have followed on from a memorandum sent by the sector prior to the elections of last May.
They included “20 essential measures” to be taken into account during the preparation of statements within the various tiers of government.
“The main thread of this patchwork of grievances is the guaranteeing of the right of women to have their say on socio-economic issues as well as the fight against physical and sexual violence against women and sexist stereotypes, not to forget female immigrants’ and illegal immigrants’ rights,” the political secretary of Vie féminine (Female Life), Hafida Bachir, explained.
Various feminist organisations have decided to join together to make their voices heard, given the poor track record in women’s rights left by the outgoing federal government, which has done no more than “undo the gains made by women in terms of pensions, health care and unemployment.” “We’ve fought all the more to sustain our gains and gain new ground. Obviously, we don’t want to go through that again,” Bachir stated.
This is why the various grassroots associations wanted to focus political attention on the rights of all women and require future governments to take care not to put forward proposals that discriminate against them.
Among the measures on the table were notably those guaranteeing women’s access to justice, making the support payments service (Secal) more accessible and enabling all women to have access to emergency hostels, including those women with precarious residency status.
The organisations were in addition calling for the abolition of the status of cohabitant so that such a familial situation should no longer affect unemployment benefit payments. They also invited the political world to take part-time work into account, along with careers that are fragmented in terms of pension calculation, and increasing the length of maternity and paternity leave.
Finally, the grouping called on Belgium to respect its commitments by applying the “gender mainstreaming” law, which aims to incorporate equality between men and women at all levels where political decisions are made.