Voices storytelling of IAW Congress 'Safety - Voices - Choices' London 2013

IAW's ambition Equal Rights - Equal Responsibilities fits well with the historic venue of IAW Congress The Old Hall of Lincoln's Inn. The memorable Triennial 36th Congress of IAW was organised by UK All Pakistan Women's Association: Bashan Rafique and her team of Trustees, friends and volunteers. Sixty women from 21 countries and 16 organizations participated. IAW is an umbrella organization linking grassroots with UN policy.

Violence against women and girls
Since 1979 the IAW has used its influence to stop violence against women and girls in New York, Geneva and Vienna. Violence against women and girls is a plague in Arab Region, South-Africa, Zimbabwe, India, Pakistan, Europe, Israel and The Pacific. You can read horrible stories, inspiring strategies and ways to eradicate violence against women and girls in the Report for Congress which was compiled by Secretary General Lene Pind. 
Fight violence is on any organization's agenda (Safety); and gender equality in decision making at all levels (Voices) and education in a broad sense (Choices). Vision of International Alliance of Women's Action Programma 2014-2016 is: 'Every girl, every woman counts. They must be safe, have a voice in decisions and a choice over their lives.' 


Gender and the ongoing financial crisis

''The current crisis has a higher differentiated impact on women because their economic position at the start of the crisis was not equal to that of men. Women are more likely than men to be in vulnerable jobs, to be underemployed or without a job, to lack social protection and to have limited access to and control over economic and financial resources'' writes Joanna Manganara (2nd right), IAW Regional Vice President of Europe in the Report for Congress (p 104). 
Professor Diane Elson (left) was one of the speakers at the Panel Gender and the Financial Crisis. She wrote Budgeting for Women's Rights: Monitoring Government Budgets for Compliance with CEDAW (Concepts and Tools)



Why is the financial crisis according to Diane Elson still relevant? Because austerity measures are global and underway in 119 countries and will reach 132 countries by 2015! Hardest hit are a.o. single women pensioners and single women without children. There is a need to develop Gender Equitable Alternatives like raise more tax revenue from rich people & big business. In Voices of IAW Action Programme 2014-2016: Therefore government (including local government) should ...'Fight tax avoidance in particular of very rich people and (multinational) companies.' Austerity policies violate Human Rights & ECOSOC Rights (economic, social and cultural rights) and counteract efforts to diminish the Gender Pay Gap. 

Margunn Bjornholt (right) talked in 'The winner takes it all' about the 'oil' fund of Norway. She became a new elected Board Member. One of the positive effects of the financial crisis in Iceland is that people are looking better after their health told Treasurer of IAW Thorbjorg Inge Jonsdottir (2nd left).


Member Elections Committee
My role at IAW Congress was member of the Elections Committee together with 4 other women from USA, UK, India and Cameroon. We organised elections for President, Treasurer, Secretary General and 19 Board Members. Joanna Manganara from Greece (left) was elected as new President. She succeeded Lyda Verstegen (right) from the Netherlands. Both with banner of IAW.

Education - internet and social media skills
In three Reports of IAW member organizations: Women's Comfort Corner in Zimbabwe (p 24), All Pakistan Women's Association (p 31) and Lithuanian Women's Organization (p 85) is information about the way they use internet in training. The IT program of APWA in Pakistan has enabled 45 young women and 16 school teachers to use the internet.

Very few of the participants and organizations at IAW Congress use social media like Twitter, Facebook, Blog or Google + to inform, share and connect with members, networks or ... Now everyone is using the internet and e-mail at a computer, laptop or tablet. In order to improve the impact of their voices and to connect to other women leaders in a modern way women leaders of IAW have to improve their social media skills is my advice. 
An inspiring start is in the IAW Pacific Report by Sheila Byard (p 90). "Since the visit of IAW Board to Melbourne October 8-12 2012 a small group of members have continued to work with and encourage younger women, including the IAW media intern group, to continue with promotional work using blog, facebook and twitter." See http://iawmelbourne.wordpress.com/


To have a look on women's part in the history of computing I - historian by education - visited the Gallery opened by Dame Stephanie Shirley & sponsored by Google UK.
Women in Computing Gallery in The National Museum of Computing (Bleatchley Park)



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