With each new crisis that arises, from the Covid-19 pandemic to the tragedies of the current war in Ukraine, women and girls bear the brunt of some of the worst consequences.
The Covid-19 pandemic has deepened pre-existing gender inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems, both in Europe and beyond. Recent analyses of global gender equality and women’s empowerment reaffirm that women and girls are disproportionately affected by the socioeconomic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, with isolation and difficulties accessing resources bringing about a significant increase in gender-based violence. Today, more than 4 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed borders in search of safety. Most of these are women, many with children; all are made more vulnerable as a result of their displacement.
As the closest level of governance to citizens, local and regional authorities are better placed to assess and identify situations where fundamental rights are threatened. The Women in Cities Initiative (WICI*) reflects our commitment to adopting a feminist, gender-based perspective in our work responding, as ever, to the needs of cities in our network.
*Women in Cities International was a non-profit network focusing on gender equality and the participation of women in urban development founded in 2002. WICI represents the incorporation of this expertise into Efus’ network.
Violence against women
All over the world, women are still victims of femicide and of physical, emotional, structural, sexual, cultural, verbal and economic violence. In recent years, phenomena of sexual harassment and coercion perpetrated by men in positions of power have triggered an intense public debate, particularly through campaigns initiated by civil society on social media. Such widespread violence, which equally affects the public, professional and private spheres, must be tackled as a matter of priority by local security policies. The gender approach and the issue of violence against women should be systematically included.
In its 2017 Security, Democracy and Cities Manifesto, Efus recommends that local and regional authorities be ‘involved in strategies against gender violence’ and that their ‘role in the field of prevention and victim support be recognised and strongly supported by national governments as well as European and international institutions’. Efus members commit to ‘intensifying their efforts as coordinators and facilitators of prevention networks that include a multiplicity of stakeholders’ and to ‘increasing the diversity of profiles – particularly gender – in the teams involved in the prevention of violence against women’.
Cities and Places of Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation (Efus 1999)
Discover the actions implemented in communities across Europe through our summary documents, which present the key elements of each of these initiatives, including their context, objectives, activities, budget, evaluation. All of our practice and summary sheets can be found on Efus Network.