It’s 2019. It’s high time that we lived in a world where people of different genders are treated and respected equally.
So it’s hard to believe that in parts of Europe this is still not happening.
In 2018 an historic referendum in Ireland that overturned an abortion ban marked a huge victory for women’s rights. Nevertheless, Women still don’t necessarily get to choose what happens to their own bodies in all European countries. In Poland a ‘stop abortion’ bill is still pending despite nationwide protests and Northern Ireland retains a near total ban on abortion and its laws carry the harshest criminal penalties in Europe’.
Sexual violence against women is shockingly widespread; 1 in 20 women aged over 15 in the EU have been raped. Despite this, only 7 out of 28 EU countries have laws stating that any sex without consent is rape. Rather than defining rape by whether a person said yes to sex, they define it by other factors, such as whether violence was used. This of course also impacts not just on women but on everyone, as no gender or demographic is free from the threat of rape or sexual violence.
Men still outstrip women in terms of earning potential. The gender pay gap means women in the EU earn 16% less than men per hour.
But young activists are taking action to change all this. People like Rema Hamid in Ireland:
“It’s undeniable that youth have been monumental in changing the course of the world. With that sort of power now being harnessed across Europe, I don’t see what could stop us.
I’m a women’s rights and reproductive justice activist. Abortion has now become legal in Ireland but the law creates barriers to access for some pregnant people. So we want to make sure that abortion is safe and accessible for everybody.
Some people aren’t free to do what they want with their bodies, their minds, their time, their money. So it’s about making sure everyone gets a fair chance at life and can live without any barriers.
Seeing the young across Europe over the past few months has been really invigorating for me. People have been taking a stand, shouting out, and not taking no for an answer! It gives you infinite hope, because you feel like you’re not alone in this struggle and that there are a lot of other people who share your views.
Talking to people, talking to friends, lobbying your MPs, going out, asking questions, attending events, these all help you to become a more engaged and informed citizen.”
Politicians work for us so it’s about time they listened to what we want. A major opportunity to do this is just around the corner, with the European elections coming up in May.
So join Rema and make some noise about the issues you care about. It’s easy!
- TURN IT UP for women’s rights by sharing this page
- Follow #TurnItUp on social media and raise your voice for gender equality
- Tell politicians what you want by voting in the European elections