Tijdens het congres van IAW in november werd Lyda Verstegen, voormalig voorzitter van de Vereniging voor Vrouwenbelangen, geinstalleerd als President van deze eerbiedwaardige internationale vrouwen-organisatie.
Hieronder leest u haar 'Maiden'-presidents-letter in de IAW-newsletter...
At the inspiring Congress in Johannesburg I had the honour of being elected President of the International Alliance of Women. The 13th. 13 is often considered not a lucky number, but we all have been 13 and survived it and we know that 13 is a period of transition.
We see by the example of South Africa how invigorating transition is, so we hope to learn from that as IAW.
In the workshops during Congress women have asked what we were about: we are about ACCESS.
When we say that maternal mortality is a breach of human rights, we mean “pregnant women have a right to ACCESS to health care”.
When we say that violence against women is a crime, we want ACCESS to the police and judiciary.
We want ACCESS to economic independence because the feminization of poverty is an infraction on human rights.
We want ACCESS to power for women leaders.
You will say that the women ministers and deputy ministers are already in power – that is not what I mean.
In Beijing in 1995, I followed a workshop on female leadership.
There it was said: “a woman, who picks up a piece of paper from the road, is a LEADER.
She wants a clean environment and she DOES something about it”.
We want ACCESS to land rights for women farmers – it is in CEDAW, the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against WOMEN.
We want ACCESS to public buildings for disabled people so they can participate.
We want ACCESS to safe schools for girls.
Let me tell you a story about my grand daughter.
A boy in her school tried to kiss her all the time...
She did not like that and she told her mother. They decided to call me, her grandmother, because this was a feminist issue.
I said it was unconstitutional. Integrity of the body is a basic right in the constitution.
Next day, although only 6 years old, she said to this boy: “It is MY body and I am deciding who gets to touch it and that’s not YOU”.
ACCESS to courage to stand up for yourself is what we are striving for, when we say ‘empowerment’ and it should start young.
But the International Alliance of Women needs to be more ACCESSIBLE too! We achieved the vote, we achieved better laws, we got CEDAW, we got the Declaration Against Violence to Women, Women’s Rights as Human Rights, and the Platform for Action from Beijing.
That is where NGOs were active.
The MDGs, the Millennium Development Goals, were sprung upon us and we are desperately trying to integrate them into the Platform of Action.
All those achievements ...
We have to translate, make them ACCESSIBLE to people who do not speak UN language, and with the help of our affiliates and associates – we hope to do that.
The Board of IAW that was elected at Congress, consists of a story teller and some lawyers, a political scientist and a nurse, teachers and business women. And, of course, there is honorary president Rosy Weiss, who is an example for us all. With their help I wish to be the President of COMMUNICATION, and the CIRCULATION OF KNOWLEDGE.
A Happy New Year to you all.
Word lid van Vrouwenbelangen als je, met ons, vindt dat Gelijk Staatsburgerschap voor vrouwen in Nederland nog niet bereikt is. Kijk voor meer informatie op http://www.vrouwenbelangen.nl/vereniging/index.htm