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Anti-slavery, Anti-violence Moves For Women’s Day …

  • March 11th, 2013
  • Posted by EUEditor

womens-day-2013.jpg“Wherever I travel, I meet courageous women fighting for an equal role in the democratic future of their countries. They are an inspiration to me, the women of the European Union and women all across the world. I salute them…”

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union, one of several voices joining in on weekend activities for the International Womens Day – on a theme of violence against women and girls.

In Australia, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced new measures against slavery and trafficking, as a reform with special applications to women.   


violence-shush.jpg Backing calls by the United Nations for stronger international commitment to end violence against women, Baroness Ashton said that over as decade, the EU has supported more than 100 projects directly targeting violence against women and girls, worth a total of 80 million Euros. It had included the Daphne program to finance civil society, universities and local authorities in their daily work supporting victims.

“Violence against women and girls is a worldwide phenomenon, crossing all borders, all generations, all nationalities, and all communities. Yet it remains hidden, under-reported, under-prosecuted, and under-punished. This trend must be reversed”, she said at Brussels.


There were several voices, and several European angles.

nato-somalia-2.jpgThe head of the EU anti-piracy squadron patrolling off the coast of Somalia, Rear Admiral Pedro García de Paredes, commented on the large number of women at sea, under his command.

“As I visit the warships of my Force, I witness women and men working together towards a common goal – to ensure there is no safe haven for pirates at sea.

“I am extremely proud … I would like to send my congratulations to all EU Naval Force female sailors and officers and say thank you for a job well done”, he said.


The EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Laszlo Andor, was analytical:

“Gender equality is not only a fundamental right, but also vital to the growth, prosperity and competitiveness of Europe’s economies”, he said.

“With the population growing older, birth rates falling and the prospect of skill shortages ahead, taking advantage of everyone’s talents and making gender diversity a growth asset is more important than ever.”

However the Commissioner also sees a sluggish uptake:

“Reaching the Europe 2020 Strategy targets for employment and poverty reduction should strengthen women’s social and economic rights. Yet the figures are disappointing. The female employment rate varies widely across the EU, but it is lower than that of males in all Member States. In 2011, the employment rate for men stood at 70.1 % in the EU-27, as compared with 58.5 % for women.”

He said many women workers were employed part-time (30%), more than men (10%), bringing, on balance, disadvantages; working conditions for women were less secure, with  incomes actually falling in recent times; and although female students did better with study, the numbers of female graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics remained  low.


The Australian government announced (8.3.13) it would establish regulations designed as a counter to abuse through slavery or trafficking of people, calling the problem a major threat to women in the global economy.

“Today I’m proud to announce a new whole-of-government strategy to reinforce ethical behaviour in procurement so that no firm providing goods or services to the Commonwealth is tainted by slavery or people trafficking anywhere in the supply chain”, said  Prime Minister Gllard (picture), at an International Women’s Day breakfast in Sydney.

gillard.jpgSee VIDEO,

Reference, Cape Town, Dakar, Lagos, Monrovia, Nairobi, Washington DC, “EU Naval Force Celebrates International Women’s Day …”, 8.3.13., (11.3.13).

European Commission, Brussels, “Commissioner Andor’s message on International Women’s Day”, 08.3.13., (11.3.13).

European Council, Brussels, “Statement by the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2013”
IP/13/204 08.3.13,, (11.3.13).

Radio Australia, Melbourne, “Julia Gillard delivers International Women’s Day speech”, updated 10.3.13,, (11.3.13).


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