Women’s Funding Network Webinar: Power Of Witness – Feb 4 2016

Thanks to everyone who listened to this morning’s Women’s Funding Network: Power Of Witness Webinar, below  is a transcript of the recording


Power of Witness – women, children, and the Syrian refugee crisis – Women’s Funding Network webinar

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WFN: Women’s Funding Network is thrilled and honored to host Jane Sloane today. She is the Vice President of programs at Global Fund for Women which is a grant-making organization focusing on human rights for women and girls. Jane previously worked as a Vice President of development with Women’s World Banking in New York and prior to that she was the Executive Director of the International Women’s Development Agency supporting women’s rights organizations across the Asia and the Pacific region.

In October 2015 a few short months ago Jane and a few of her colleagues from Global Fund for Women spent about a month traveling around Istanbul, Turkey and Egypt to meet with women’s groups to join a convening of Syrian women activists and to bear witness to life in two refugee camps for women and girls in southern Beirut.

Jane is also a prolific writer and wrote extensively about this trip on her blog Janeintheworld.com. When we read her post it was clear that her experiences needed a wider audience so we invited her in because we wanted to give everyone in the network the opportunity to hear Jane’s stories and to talk to her about how this rising conflict in the Middle East is affecting women and girls in particular. Ok so without further ado I will hand the mic over to Jane and she’ll get us started.

In October 2015 a few short months ago Jane and a few of her colleagues from Global Fund for Women spent about a month traveling around Istanbul, Turkey and Egypt to meet with women’s groups to join a convening of Syrian women activists and to bear witness to life in two refugee camps for women and girls in southern Beirut. Jane is also a prolific writer and wrote extensively about this trip on her blog janeintheworld.com.

When we read her post it was clear that her experiences needed a wider audience so we invited her in because we wanted to give everyone in the network the opportunity to hear Jane’s stories and to talk to her about how this rising conflict in the Middle East is affecting women and girls in particular. Ok so without further ado I will hand the mic over to Jane and she’ll get us started.

Jane Sloane: Well hello everyone it’s such a privilege to be here today and I really want to thank Women’s Funding Network for providing this opportunity. I also want to acknowledge my colleagues from Global Fund for Women including Zahra Vieneuve our program officer for Middle East and North Africa who’s recently rejoined Global Fund for Women and of course our colleagues from many peer organizations.

I know there’s already a lot of expertise from those who are joining this conversation and I want to be able to provide you with an overview with enough time for what I hope is a dialogue on what’s happening both in the Middle East and particularly in the refugee camps during this time.

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When we were heading to the Middle East for this trip we were initially supposed to go into Ankara and the day that we were due to fly out was of course the day that the bombs hit there. So again it really just brought home the volatility of the region and we were due to meet with a number of our grantee partners there and of course then had to divert to Istanbul. One of the women who was part of one of the grantee groups that we supported, actually lost her legs as part of that bombing. She was a journalist who was developing another film. So again it was very personal for us in terms of what happened there and it brought a new urgency to the conversations in Istanbul.

We were in Istanbul to both listen and learn from our grantee partners there and also particularly to join a convening that was organized by MADRE an organization based in New York that’s been working for many years with Syrian and Iraqi women activists. We co-funded a forum with MADRE and with Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in order to be able to bring Syrian and Iraqi women activists together. To speak about their experience, both, some of them in escaping ISIS and other armed groups as well as those that were creating an underground network to be able to keep women and girls safe from ISIS.

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It was also particularly important to bring these women together at this time to really work with them and to prepare them for their own testimony before the UN Human Rights Committee as well as the UN Security Council’s review of Syria and iraq’s compliance with UN Security resolution 1325 which of course is to really ensure that women are assuming more leadership positions in relation to peace keeping and peace-building.

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And so it was a really important opportunity to hear the testimony from these women as well as to support them to forge a closer network both as Syrian activists, as Iraqi women activists and to identify what we needed to do as organizations to better support them in their work.

These women were also talking about the need to really create a technology platform so that they could more quickly get information about what was happening on the ground and to be able to pivot to be able to dismantle facilities and be able to increase access and safe havens for women and girls who were as I said before escaping armed groups and escaping ISIS as well.

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What was also really important was to hear the testimony of those who had been most effected by ISIS. There was one young woman who came with a man, a Yazidi young woman and she actually didn’t speak at the whole convening until the last 30 minutes of the convening and she then stood up before we were due to finish and she said to us,

“nearly all of my family has been killed, my mother, my father, two of my brothers. Isis killed all the men, they raped all the women, they raped me, they raped my sister and I was kept captive until May of 2015. I was moved from one place to another and the person who is keeping guard was planting explosive devices for Isis as we moved. Then I finally managed to escape and now I’m in a camp with other Yazidi people.”

She said, “you know I always imagined I would be with my own people and that I would be in a fairly sheltered and protected environment for most of my life and now all of that is gone and I realized that I can’t be silent and that I have to speak out and I have to for the rest of my life be an activist for my people and particularly for other girls and young women who’ve experienced the brutality of ISIS as I’ve experienced it, who have lost other family members.”

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So you’ll see in this slide, Louzina is not her real name, it’s the name she asked to be known as while she was giving her testimony because it’s still not safe for her and many other young women, but she told us how much being present at this convening gave her strength and courage for the time ahead and she was in the company of other women who also said that they wouldn’t be able to return to their homes after this convening because it would be too dangerous for them, that they would have to go to a new place in their organizing in order to be able to keep doing the work that they were doing.

It was a vitally important convening for these women both in terms of understanding how they could present their testimony through these United Nations forums as well as to connect with other women in their community and to know that they could forge a closer relationship and network in the time ahead.
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We spent more time with other grantee partners in Istanbul. I won’t talk to you about that today because of the lack of time. We travelled from Istanbul to Beirut in Lebanon to really spend time with our grantee partners that have been working inside the refugee camps. I want to make it clear that Global Fund for Women isn’t a… we are not a crisis organization.
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The way that we work is to really support women’s rights groups that we’ve been supporting for many years in terms of their organizing and their activism but because of the crisis, because of the refugee crisis many of the groups that have been working with refugees have had to expand their work and have had to really deal with just a phenomenal influx of people and particularly women and children that they are dealing with.

So the way that we work is to provide these groups the funding to be able to sustain their activism and the strength of their organizing during this time as well as to, of course to network. Network very closely with other women’s groups so that they are not only providing that support on the ground through the services that they provide but they’re also working to influence policies and to be able to change the environment that women and girls experience on the ground.
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So we visited two refugee camps in Lebanon and, just again to bring it home, only three weeks after we left the camps, one of the areas where we had visited was bombed.

Forty people were killed, that was a couple of weeks before the Paris bombing as well. Again it just speaks to the incredible volatile environment and fragile conditions in which so many people are living. If you can imagine some 37,000 people crammed into less than a mile, then you’ve got some idea of how crowded these facilities are and then of course they’re built originally to hold only about three thousand people so the overcrowding in these camps is just beyond anything that you could possibly imagine.

It’s also as a result of that overcrowding that the level of violence in the camps is so high, but just to paint a picture for you of what it’s like walking into the camps.
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There all these electric wires that are just strung together and because the families in the camps don’t have access to any electricity what they do is they connect up their own electric wires into a system of electric wires, you can see it on screen now, in order to be able to have some form of power.
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The problem is that these wires are only a foot or two ahead of when you’re walking through and every couple of weeks someone else get electrocuted; particularly when it rains. it means that people are stepping in puddles, if the wires are hanging down then someone else get electrocuted.
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Because of the trauma inside the camps because of the level of violence people have just normalized these situations. They just now take it for granted. It’s the same with the other conditions. They’ve just now reached a position where so much of what happens there is what they see as their lives. There is a sense of when you look into their eyes of women and others in the camp when you are walking through, their eyes are just dead because they really feel like there is no hope.
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There’s also no fresh drinking water inside the camps so it means that all of the water needs to be brought into the camps. People need to be able to earn some form of income in order to be able to access food and water.

The lead UN agency, the UN Relief and Work Agency has the responsibility of providing basic food and water for people in the camps but as a result of what’s happening in Europe it means that there is less money now coming to that UN agency because a lot of the European donors, in particular, have pulled out their aid funding and they are redirecting the funding back to their own countries.

So that means there’s less money in the Middle East being directed to support refugees who are in those camps and just needing access to those basic supplies. I should also say that the Lebanese government has also identified some 70 jobs that refugees aren’t entitled to undertake so it means that they are only able to undertake the most menial jobs dealing with sewerage and plumbing and it’s mainly the men who are doing that outside of the camps. So that’s the only form of income that’s then brought back into the camps and regenerated within the camps in terms of the micro businesses that are created.

As a result of the incredible over- crowding and frustration and the lack of hope, there’s a high level of domestic violence in the camps. Many women spoke to us about the fact that they really felt that it was better that their husbands hit them than hit out at anyone else in the camps.

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They often saw themselves as kind of human shields protecting others and particularly children from their husbands anger and rage. As one of the women leading the work of one of our grantee partners said to us the problems of the parents pour themselves into their children including the violence perpetuated in the camp.

So it means that creating safe spaces for women to know their rights and to be able to, particularly for Syrian women who in many instances are much more submissive than some of the Iraqi women refugees, some of the Palestinian and Lebanese women refugees in the camps. The Syrian women are learning that they have rights and how to advocate to their husbands for their own rights. Also to encourage their husbands join one of the groups that are also established by some of our grantee partners so that the men learn how to control their anger and learn that by violating their wives and children, they’re also violating themselves.

So that work of really helping families and communities and children deal with violence in the camps is absolutely critical to them really having a sense of hope as well as obviously better health and feeling like there’s a different kind of life available to them, even in the camp.

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There’s so much to say about the children in the camps as well, and I should say, with the violence, there was one woman who spoke to us about every time she saw her child she saw her husband in her child. Her husband who had beat her every day had beat her every day and so, again, supporting, providing that psychosocial support and trauma support so that the women can feel safe, the men can feel safe, their children can feel safe.

The other thing is the graffiti in the camps is actually graffiti to encourage children to yell out, particularly girls to yell out if ithey are touched or pulled out by a man and that’s because of the increase in trafficking within the camps and Syrian girls, in particular, are taught not to scream and not to make loud noises in their own culture, at least that what we were told by some of our grantee partners. And so it means these girls in particular having to relearn their own behavior and having to learn how to scream and yell if they are grabbed by a stranger in order that they’re not then taken out and quite often taken out to the Gulf countries and sold off or provided to men there.

The other thing that is happening more often in the camps that we heard about from women’s rights groups is an increase in child marriage where parents are wanting to keep their daughters safe and so feeling like the best way is to marry then off so that they feel safe, and so again working with parents to really address these ideas of safety and security for their daughters is really important.

The other thing of course is because of the lack of access to money for contraception, the lack of access to healthcare within the camps many women are just getting pregnant on a continual basis which means that they are exhausted that they don’t have access to the kind of support they need and we also heard from women who had given birth to deformed babies because of lack of nutrition in the camps and lack of access to support.

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And as a result of that, it meant that they were having to medicate these babies almost to a vegetative state in order to cope with the sheer number of children that they had and the number of demands and issues that they were experiencing inside the camps.

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So the role of the women’s groups we’re supporting is just so vitally important.

There aren’t many organizations that are really paying attention to the needs of women in the camps. There’s more support being provided in terms of children psychosocial support but really recognizing that…it’s very easy to see women just as victims inside the camps.Recognizing women’s role as leaders, as connectors, as community builders, as solution

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Recognizing women’s role as leaders, as connectors, as community builders, as solution builders, is really important. Women are so much at the frontline. As you saw in the beginning, those statistics, the sheer number, 4 out of 5 of refugees are women and children and so women play an absolutely vital role and one of the reasons for that is that men are often engaged in the armed groups, they’re often engaged in getting to Europe trying then to bring the rest of their families along with them.

That means that there is a disproportionate number of women and children in these camps. So the work of our grantee partners is not only working to support women and men to address the violence in the camps but also to provide women with access to tools and training so that they can start and create their own micro businesses. Our grantee partners are not providing money directly to families because they don’t want women to be passive recipients, they want women to be able to play an active role and to start using their talents and their skills in a dynamic way.

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And so providing support to women by providing sewing machines by providing the tools to start their own yogurt business, their own sweet business, providing women the support to be able to make curtains, create knitted garments.

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All of that makes a difference because it means that if men are bringing money inside from the they organize outside the camps, women can then buy things with the products and services that they are creating and that means they’ve got money for contraception, they’ve got money to support their children’s education, they’ve got money to be able to expand their businesses and therefore earn more income as well. So that work of economic security is really vital to a sense of sustained hope for the women and of course it helps them create their own communities inside the camps which is also really important for them – feeling like there is a life beyond.
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One of our grantee partners was also supporting a group that was organised by something called I Move Foundation and it was a women who came to one of the women’s groups and suggested that she start a yoga class inside one of the camps and you’ll see here some of the children that are learning yoga moves. It was so incredible to spend time with these children in these yoga classes, and as someone who loves practising yoga myself I felt like I was in my element.

What was really important was hearing the testimony of these children some of whom said, “when I first came into the camp I was drawing pictures of bombs and all my pictures were black.” One of the children was talking about after coming to these yoga classes she was drawing flowers and trees with green and different colors and she was showing me theses pictures and again she spoke about the fact that these classes were giving new life and energy to children. One of the children said ”I’ve made new friends now one”, “I can sleep now and I’m dreaming of animals and spirit life when I dream”, and another young girl said, “I feel I am happy when I move.”

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It was quite profound to see how some of these really simple interventions can make such a difference, both for the children and then as a result for their parents who also started joining the classes. So you’ll see a picture of one of the teachers who started the yoga classes there.

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What I think is also really important, and it speaks to that point I made before about the money that is now being pulled out of the camps in the Middle East and being re-directed by donors to the situation in Europe, is the complexity of the situation but also the fact that I was in a group the other day and that group was speaking about the fact that they really felt that they needed to provide funding to groups that we’re dealing with the situation in Europe because of the crisis there.

I think it’s often easier to imagine connecting with groups of people who look like ourselves or who are located in Europe rather than located in the Middle East and so dealing with our own fears of the other and dealing with our own fears of what it might be like to engage with communities in the Middle East is I think really important. Because we have to understand why money is shifting so rapidly from supporting the terrible situation in the Middle East to just supporting the situation in Europe which of course is also devastating, but we can’t also ignore what is happening and what is being perpetuated in the Middle East as well and I think that’s it’s really important that we pay attention to that in terms of how we best respond.

I’m also very conscious of the fact that a lot of the funding is being provided to support the refugee crisis is gender blind. That there isn’t often a conversation about how the situation is affecting women and girls differently to men and boys. Really paying attention to those dimensions in the way that women are involved in coming up with solutions, in the way that girls are impacted particularly in relation to issues such as trafficking, and how we might better support women’s groups that have the deep knowledge and cultural context to be able to engage in those camps. Rather than just supporting some of the larger organizations that don’t necessarily have those relationships with women on the ground.

I think also just connecting and being aware of the link with climate change and the gender dimensions round climate change and issues around food, land and water security as they play out.

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What our grantee partners are doing is really supporting women to not only survive and assume more leadership positions and voice within the camps, but contribute to thinking about the broader policy dimensions and how to influence the policies of the Lebanese government. For instance, in terms of who can work and how they can work, accessing or getting involved in policy dialogues around access to education, access to healthcare and contraceptive support. So those conversations and support for women in the camps is really vitally important so that they feel like they are contributing to policies beyond their own lives inside the camps.

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People often ask when they hear about the situation, when we paint a picture about how dire the conditions are in the camps and say, “Well it’s just an overwhelming situation, what can I as one person do? How can I best respond?”

There are a number of things one person can do. There are 5 things that we’ve just identified for the purposes of this conversation today.

One is to just continue the dialog. If you are able to host your own webinar, invite someone from Global Fund for Women or another organization that you know is doing great work in the camps and in the Middle East to speak about what’s happening, in order to really encourage others to have a better appreciation of the issues that are at stake here. That would be incredibly valuable. It’s really opening up the conversation, that helps to open up options and addressing the conflicts that we might have within our thinking is as important as addressing the conflicts on the ground.

Becoming an active advocate on social media is also really important. Social media is really defining a lot of the conversations and the dialog. It can also play a really critical role in holding governments and other donors to account. So recognizing how powerful and important that is and signing on to petitions making sure that you’re tracking the work of Women’s Funding Network, Global Fund for Women, both of whom have a very active social media presence.

Supporting the organizations and funding the work of organization you know are paying attention to the specific needs of women and children refugees but are also going beyond that work and they’re helping to support the long-term efforts that will sustain women and girls human rights in the region.

Beyond that direct funding support, asking other donors what they’re doing to pay attention to the gender dimensions of the crisis and how they are supporting the needs of women and girls as distinct from men and boys. Do they have gender-inclusive policies and programs. So becoming an informed donor yourself in terms of the questions you’re asking is really important.

Then of course, it’s paying attention to the political dimensions, helping to influence the direction of US policy as much as the direction of broader global policy. So it’s starting by asking your local member what they’re doing to contribute to solutions around US refugee policy and letting them know that you care about this issue.

I’ve been involved in the past in things like an adopt a politician campaign where many organizations have got together to track the attitudes of individual politicians and then to map that out, so you can really hold politicians across a whole country to account in terms of their attitudes and then share that information on social media. So there are very creative ways to be able to make that connection between US policy and what’s happening globally.

I think that’s also why Global Fund for Women is so proud to be a member of Women’s Funding Network because again it’s a very tangible way of connecting work that happens with many women’s funds inside the US together with the international members of the Women’s Funding Network including Global Fund for Women and the work we are doing globally. I think all of you on the call today have that connection with Women’s Funding Network. it’s probably a good time for me to stop and hand it over to the wonderful facilitators here this morning in terms of questions that people may have, who have joined this call today.
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WFN: A question I have is what kind of structures are in place in these camps for children to kind of have any formalized education or is it all very informal. {garbled}

Jane Sloane: Yes that’s such a great question. There’s very little access for families inside the camps to education outside the camps unless they’ve got the money and means to make that possible. It means that groups, both our grantee partners have been supporting families and groups inside the camps to create that informal education environment. There are people in the camps who are teachers and so they are really committed to trying to sustain children’s education and we saw some of those lessons being played out in some of the makeshift rooms inside the camps and so there is a form of rudimentary education happening for children but not in any way at the level which you would hope and imagine. And of

And of course, this means that we face the situation of losing another generation of children in terms of their lack of access to education. So it’s not just their lack of access to healthcare and better conditions but that lack of access to education and of course if you can imagine the desperation inside the camps. Unless we pay attention to the needs of families inside the camps, they are more vulnerable to armed groups, they’re more vulnerable to ISIS.

Many of these individuals want to take the first ticket out of the camps themselves and so we’re actually creating a kind of perfect storm by not providing more funding to support the situation in the camps and to advocate for different policies because it means that if more of these groups end up being vulnerable to extremist forces then we are not only losing another generation of children we’re actually perpetuating the conflict.

We’re actually perpetuating the level of crisis in the world and so we have to recognize that this is something that affects all of us, it’s not just something affecting populations on the other side of the world. It’s actually something that’s going to affect the future of the world. So paying attention to all of those dimensions of conflict is vitally important to us in terms of our own humanity as much as the future of the world and the future of those children in terms of their education.

WFN: I sometimes find it hard sitting here trying to imagine what life is like for everyone. I don’t have a sense of how long people, I mean how long do people spend in these camps. Are families growing up in these camps?

Jane Sloane: I think that is part of the psychological sense of families inside the camp, you know there is a kind of passivity by some families that they are likely to be there for a long time.

That equates to the deadness I saw in the eyes of many people in the camps that they recognise that there’s not going to be any easy way out soon. I think that’s why the work of women’s groups that we’re supporting inside the camps is so vital because they are really re-igniting a sense of not only women knowing their own rights but being able to act on that and recognizing that even though the situation is dire in the camps, they still have a choice about their bodies, they can still advocate for their rights to their husbands, they still can build, create their own businesses, they can still form their own communities, they can still come together to advocate for policy change.

Even though the world within the camps is quite confined being connected to a bigger world through the work of women’s rights groups is really important to be able to imagine themselves differently and then, of course, their children take their cue from their parents. If the children are seeing their mothers and their fathers break out of that cycle of violence and re-engage and establish their own businesses and find ways be able to create education, yoga, health opportunities, then the children themselves have a different form of life and become more engaged in artistic as well as educational activities.

It’s kind of a microcosm of how we respond to other situations in the world. Some families do leave the camps, it again speaks to the fact that men often form the kind of forward brigade in managing to get to Europe and men finding a way for their families to join them. A lot of families just feel like there’s no… and of course, remembering that it’s a mix of different cultures. It’s Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian, Lebanese groups within the camps and for Palestinian refugees they’ve already had to leave their homeland. They’ve then had to leave Syria, they’ve then often established or been in camps between the border of Syria and Lebanon and then they’ve had to again reintegrate themselves inside this camp.

So there have been multiple upheavals and you know that sense of home becomes really challenging and compromised when you’re having to uproot yourself all the time and then re-establish yourself in very traumatic situations.

WFN: I see a couple more questions coming in. Thank you.  Jane, how do you think the abductions and the traffickers can be stopped? That’s the first question which is probably a challenging one.

Jane Sloane: I think again that’s why the work of women’s group inside the camp has been so important. Once women know their rights, once men are dealing with issues of violence themselves, it actually has made it easier for them to form close alliances and community organizing groups within the camps.

You know they’re organizing groups around the food, access to water, access to education. Women are such natural organizers and they organize relationally as well.

Organizing groups to be able to teach children how to keep themselves safe and then a kind of an early warning system and a rapid response system for these situations inside the camps. And of course groups become very attuned to strangers coming into the camps as well.

The better women are able to express and organize themselves the greater the chance that they able to stop people from coming in and setting up those trafficking rings. But of course the trafficking is also tied to poverty and so providing families with more opportunities to be able to keep themselves safe is really important in order they not be in any way be responsive to traffickers or those that are offering a way out of the camps as well. So it’s really important and also, of course, really complex.

WFN: Ok another question coming in. For those of us who are in the US right now there has been a lot of hype, a lot of action around the presidential debates and one question coming in says why do you think refugee policy hasn’t really shown in the presidential debate? Why does it seem to be all about immigration policy?

Jane Sloane: You know I think again it does come back in part to issues of our known world and responding to issues that are really based on fear. I think people are really engaged quite often when it comes to things like presidential elections, in issues that they relate to personally and I think understanding how the refugee crisis really affects us personally in terms of our future, the future of the world and the way we see ourselves, the way that we see other people is really important.

I think that’s why I think having these conversations is so important. I don’t think that candidates themselves feel that it’s a top-line issue for people in the US so they haven’t themselves brought it out as a top-line issue in terms of what they say they’re advocating for and standing for.

You know in my own country Australia, I remember years ago when we were facing a situation with Vietnamese boat people. There was such a strong resistance from Australians at that time. It was something like 90% of Australians didn’t want to welcome Vietnamese boat people to Australia despite the urgency and the devastating conditions that they were facing.

But our Prime Minister at the time it, was actually the equivalent of a republican, Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser made the decision that Australia would accept a huge number of Vietnamese boat people because he said he knew it was the right thing to do, it was the moral thing to do and I think it is a time for moral courage in this country in terms of both the leadership as well as what we can step up to do as citizens.

We’re in a new time now with social media where we can form a very strong citizen movement where we can advocate to politicians and we’ve seen that, we saw it with President Obama being elected, we’re seeing this now with Bernie Sanders in particular. So, it’s time and that is why there’s so much excitement around citizen organising. There isn’t any reason why we as citizens can’t make it a presidential issue if we decide here and now we’re going to make it so.

WFN: So a couple more questions we have time for a couple more questions. The next one is what’s the connection between the activists you met at the MADRE convening some perhaps have escaped camps and conflict and the work that’s happening in the camps?

Jane Sloane: Yes that’s a really good question I think that there’s a number of things I can say in response to that. One of the reasons why we wanted to support this convening and co-fund the convening was to really build a stronger relationships with MADRE, with Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the other organisations that were part of organising that convening as well. Because we do want to better support the work of women’s groups that work both inside and outside the camps to raise awareness of the conditions women are experiencing both in escaping ISIS and other armed groups and then quite often landing inside the camps where they have more of a safe place to rest than outside the camps.

Being able to get representation from women inside the camps and women working as activists outside the camps is really important and that’s where funding movement of women’s rights groups is really important and that is very much the work of Global Fund for Women.

We don’t just fund individual women, we don’t just fund individual women’s groups. We fund cohorts of women’s groups that are forging strong movements to change – in this case the human rights of women in the Middle East and Iraqi and Syrian women activists particularly in this instance. Advocating for policy change in order to ensure that women and girls are kept safe, whether they are inside the camps or outside the camps. And so that connection – it’s also why forging that strong network and supporting that network, both as a physical network also as an on-line network for women both inside and outside the camps so that they can better share information and intelligence – is important.

WFN-Webinar-Power-of-Witness_25WFN: One more question coming in – How do people spend their time in the camps?

Jane Sloane: Gosh, I didn’t see a lot of leisure time, I’ve got to say. For families inside the camps a lot of the time is spent really dealing with basic necessities, dealing with – as I mentioned there’s only salty water in the camps so there are groups that are responsible for organizing bringing that clean water into the camps.

Quite often liaison with the UN bodies but also separate to that because as I said, there’s not enough funding coming through multilateral organizations. Organizing, preparing food, both for their own families as well as to sell in order to be able to generate some sort of income. Creating the micro businesses that women are forming, are important.

The work groups I spoke about before are also about keeping children safe. Dealing with latrines and dealing with the cleanup operations when it rains because of course with water on the ground there is increased risk of electrocution because of the connection between the water and those electric wires I spoke about.

Volunteers, help with teaching children as well. There are women outside of the camps who come in to help with that psycho-social support. Organizing of support groups, groups looking after babies as well, I mentioned that as well –the number of babies that are medicated, also having meetings with women’s groups that are working for those policy changes that I spoke about before and forming those alliances.

There is plenty to keep families and individuals occupied. It’s more getting enough rest I think – if you can imagine the noise, the constant noise and activity inside those camps and just trying to get enough rest to deal with daily life is really important.

WFN: So how do people in Lebanon, who are not refugees, how do they feel about the camps?

Jane Sloane: I think that the attitudes they are very mixed there are those – some people who are actually donating and volunteering their time to provide support.

There are those who were initially sympathetic who are now very angry and frustrated because they feel that it’s draining resources from their own government and who are advocating strongly. You know I think it does speak to the broader issue about the fact that we really need a global compact so that it’s not just those countries that are closest to the Syrian border that are taking the lion’s share of the load.

We need a compact where every country in the world agrees to take it’s fair share, a quota of refugees from Syria and other refugees, in order that the load not be so acute with countries like Lebanon and Turkey and Yemen of course is also experiencing incredible challenges.

I think we need to be advocating for that kind of global compact. But I think there is an escalating concern in Lebanon about the sheer numbers of people and what it means in terms of a diversion of resources from the needs of other Lebanese people. So it’s as complex. It’s as complex there as it is here in terms of having those conversations and I think it’s why this webinar today is so important.

WFN: Absolutely so I’d like to end on a more positive note. I’m curious, what did you see that gave you hope?

Jane Sloane: I think the phenomenal resilience of the women. I mean I think the women’s groups that we are supporting that have really expanded their work. These women’s groups saying we don’t need just 20,000 dollars or 30,000 dollars which is really quite often the size of grants that we’ve been able to provide these groups. We need a tenfold increase, we need like $200,000, $300,000 to be able to deal with the level of need and to be able to forge a strong movement for response and a broader change.

The resilience of both the group’s that we’re supporting are just operating under the most extreme conditions and the incredible resilience of the women and their families inside the camps. There was still a lot of laughter and sharing and storytelling even in spite of these conditions and you know it again speaks to people’s humanity. It reminds me of Primo Levy and Mans Search for Meaning where he wrote that, even in the most horrific conditions we still have a choice about how we respond. I just feel so emotional when I think about the women that we spent time with there, because they even speaking about the deadness in the eyes of women you know they were so determined to achieve a better life for themselves and their families.

Some of them were coming into their own, particularly the Syrian women who were realizing their rights, understanding and advocating for their rights. They had a stepped up level of confidence in dealing with their husbands and their families and I think also, of course, the children, the yoga classes I was saying earlier, that it would be so fantastic to create a kind of yoga without borders. To have yoga classes inside every refugee camp because the experience of things like yoga and meditation can’t be underestimated in terms of what that means for children’s, women’s and men’s psychological well-being.

So I just feel so proud to work for Global Fund for Women and to be a board member of Women’s Funding Network and for Global Fund for Women to be a member of Women’s Funding Network because I do think women’s networks and women’s movements are really going to change the world and it really starts with us as individuals and what choices we make in making it possible.

WFN: A big round of applause for Jane, for her very articulate and moving webinar today. I encourage you again go to janeinworld.com. Thank you again to Jane and all of you for tuning in.

WFN-Webinar-Power-of-Witness_26

Transcript by Jools Thatcher

Full Frame CCTV Interview – Sept. 2015

Ending child marriage interview

My appearance on Full Frame CCTV with Mike Walters talking about ending child marriage…

Thanks Mike and the team @ Full Frame for such a wonderful experience

Jane

Transcript

Mike Walters

This is shocking. 700 million of the world’s married women were wed before they turned 18. That’s according to UNICEF. This means that twenty eight girls are entering into child marriage every minute worldwide; some 15 million girls per year. Tragically some are as young as eight years old.

Two of the regions where child marriage is most common are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. So as a result of these unions in countries in those regions the leading cause of death for girls between the ages of 15 and 19 is pregnancy and childbirth. If nothing is done to prevent child brides from being forced into marriage, 1.2 billion girls will be at risk by 2050.

Jane Sloane is fighting to protect the rights and dignity of child brides and hopes to see an end to these practices in her lifetime. The vice president of programs at Global Fund for Women, her organization has funded 241 organizations in 53 countries that are all working to end early marriage. Today she’s here to share what can be done to change these startling statistics. I want to welcome you to Full Frame Jane.

Jane Sloane
Thanks very much. It’s great to be here.

Mike Walters
I always say that people who have purpose driven lives, they’re like candles, something or some thing ignites that candle and in your case it was Nelson Mandela. Tell us the story.

Jane Sloane
Yes, I had a day with Nelson Mandela in 2000 just before the Olympic Games actually, and he said to me, “Jane if you really want to make a difference in your life you should focus on conflict resolution and citizen lead change.” That really took me in the direction that I am now focused on which is really fighting for the rights of women and girls, worldwide.

Mike Walters
People don’t focus on this one. It’s tragic and it’s widespread, isn’t it?

Jane Sloane
it’s very widespread and in countries like Niger in West Africa seventy-five percent of girls under the age of 18 are married off early and in places like Ethiopia, girls are actually initiated into a practice where, if they’re eight or nine, they’re taken out and they’re taught how to handle a man and then they are brought a man who they don’t know at all and they are forced to have sex with him and then after that they are considered to be a woman and so within two years of that early practice they are married off and then expected to really serve that man for the rest of their life.

Mike Walters
And you’ve met some of these girls along the way undoubtedly, what is it like? I mean it’s so tragic, because you think of a life having an arc to it. Their life is over at a very young age. I mean it’s already predestined isn’t it?

Jane Sloane
It is. if you can imagine a girl of nine or ten years old who really doesn’t know anything other than her family to suddenly be married off, often to an older man, to imagine herself being in a very different household where she is expected to serve his every whim and to not have any access to an education, to not have any other life other than serving within that household, within that environment. It’s a really tragic waste of life for a girl.

It means that she no longer has the opportunity of an education, of any kind of job or livelihood, her dreams are lost in that situation. It really means that if we look to your earlier statistic, if we’re looking at 2050, 1.2 billion girls will be in this situation.

Mike Walters
As a parent you know I always think I want what’s best for my kids. This clearly, to most of us would think that this is not what’s best, so talk to us about all the different things that kind of flow into this.

Jane Sloane
Well seventy-five percent of families who do marry their children off early, particularly girls, are living on less than $2 a day, So poverty has a lot to do with decisions that parents make to marry off their daughter or their son.

Often it’s also because of a debt that a family will have, where it’s easier to marry off their daughter than to pay back their debt, than to do anything else. Sometimes it’s because of the honor that parents feel towards their daughter, they want to keep her safe and so they feel the best way to keep her safe is to marry her off early, so that she isn’t violated, she isn’t raped.The irony of course is that girls who are married off early are twice as likely to be violated or to be abused within that marriage, so even though parents will often see it as a safe way of ensuring that their daughters are protected, often they’re actually doing the opposite.

The other thing is in countries like Bangladesh, which has the highest rate of girls being married off under the age of 15 it’s compounded by the level of natural disasters there’s constant natural disasters and so parents again often panic at that time because of lack of access to food and water and would think the best way that they can get some income for the rest of their family or ensure that their daughter has food and water is to marry her off at that time and with the increasing number of natural disasters and climate change impact it means that situation is really playing out in many countries around the world.

Mike Walters
You know it’s interesting, I’m sure when you entered this field you were like I’m gonna go attack this but I’m sure you must have come in with some idea of what the situation was like and what were the things that you saw outside of that scope that really surprised you.

Jane Sloane
The love that parents have for their daughters and sons; I think that it’s very easy to be judgmental about ‘how can they possibly marry off their daughters at such a young age?’ and yet they are very complex feelings and beliefs and reasons for marrying off girls quite early.

Also though I would say the tenacity of girls to try and fight that situation and of course that’s what we really focus on. We focus on supporting girls and women to realize their rights to understand that they have rights to claim and how to be able to fight against that practice and one of the most effective ways to do that is to support women’s groups and groups of girls to be able to lobby community chiefs and people within their villages or communities to agree to not marry off a girl early.

And one example I can give of where that’s worked really well was there was a girl in one village that we were supporting and she had a disability. She had a leg that had been badly burned from a cook stove and her father wanted to marry her off because he saw her as a real burden on the family and felt it would be better to marry her early.

Her friends who knew how much he wanted to go to school brought together everyone within the local community to the family to the household and gave the father all the reasons why it was better for his daughter to go to school rather than for him to marry this girl off. He came up with a lot of reasons including; well she won’t be able to walk to school, there’s the problem of transport and one of the girls said that they would put her on her bike and carry her to work each day and that’s actually what ended up happening.

I mean the irony was his daughter was actually walking as far every day to deliver this man lunch every day, but he really felt that it would be better for her to be married off. In the end what happened was he agreed to the wishes of this girl group, he agreed to the wishes of the community and to this day she’s being “donkeyed *” to work every day on the back of this bike and she’s now got a dream of becoming a doctor when she finishes school.

So it just shows the power of girls and I think that rather than girls feeling that decisions are being made on their behalf, when girls feel that they have their own power to claim it makes a huge difference in terms of what’s possible and of course that needs to be coupled with advocating for changes at a national level and getting governments to change laws at a national level as well.

Mike Walters
We were talking about the ages of these young girls. I can’t imagine for a minute a little girl like these that you’re describing, being pregnant, having to deliver a child and this is a real issue as well the health concerns can you talk to us about that?

Jane Sloane
Yes, you can imagine a girl of nine or ten not really knowing very much about sex, being penetrated the first time, getting pregnant at the age of nine or 10, giving birth, if she actually gets through a pregnancy of course, because the rate of girls dying in pregnancy is one in five for any girl under the age of 15, so that’s very high. But even if she gets through pregnancy, she faces a lot of health issues over her time. It might be fistula, it might be any number of other disorders both physical and psychological,l because girls just aren’t psychologically prepared to be able to either carry a child or to even be a mother at that age. As well and of course if they don’t have access to sexual and reproductive health information, they don’t know how to be able to protect themselves. So by having access to those services what we say at Global Fund for Women is this:

Four things that we really need to do to be able to support gender equality and girls empowerment.

One is for a girl to know her rights,

The second is for a girl to be able to access resources so that she has the information and the support that she needs,

The third is to be able to influence and change community attitudes and behavior and that’s often the hardest thing to change people’s mindsets,

And the fourth is to be able to change laws and legislation.

The laws and legislation aren’t just about passing laws which is what happened in Ethiopia earlier, and now in Bangladesh, it’s then ensuring that those laws are implemented because quite often you can have a law that says we make it illegal for any girl to be married under the age of 18 but often those laws also have a rider that says ‘except at parents discretion’ and it’s often parents discretion or parents paying bribes to local community chiefs that means that those girls are married off as young as nine or ten or their birth certificates are changed.

Mike Walters
Not just that they’re second class citizens that they have no rights in many respects. What does it do to you when you’re thinking about your day in approaching your day every day trying to change this?

Jane Sloane
I think it speaks to the power of women because Global Fund has supported groups, women have ended civil wars women who have become Nobel Peace Prize winners as a result of a dream that a woman has had.

One woman’s dream has become an incredible reality if you think about what Malala has done, if you think about Wangari Maathai you had a dream to have a greenbelt movement that ended up planting millions of trees. If you think about Leymah Gbowee, she had a dream to end the civil war in Liberia. She managed to do that with many other women who we supported to get the first president woman president of Liberia elected.

All of that because we believed that they believed in their own power of dreaming, and I think that’s an incredibly important thing to hold onto. That you trust women, that you trust girls to know what’s needed and that we find the funds at every level to be able to make that dream a reality and that’s what I hold on to in my work. It’s so important to believe in one girl because if you can believe in one girl then she’ll make the most incredible things possible and I think that we have to do so much more to really recognize what happens at a grassroots level when we get not just money into the hands of those girls but also give them a voice, lift them up to be able to speak for themselves and they’ll do the most incredible work as a result.

Mike Walters
One final question before we go, Nelson Mandela, that linkage to you that he changed your life and you know that you’re changing lives what about his legacy through you and through all these other people that you’re touching.

Jane Sloane
Well I think the most incredible thing about Nelson Mandela is that he really recognized what it was like to be in someone else’s shoes. That whole idea of ‘I and Thou’, ‘you are me and I am you’ and that we are all connected in a very powerful way and once you really embrace that idea, once you recognize that there is very little difference between us then a lot of prejudices a lot of barriers fall down and it means that a whole other world is possible and that’s his great legacy to us that great hope, the belief that you can actually change the world. And I think we have all got that ability within us.

Mike Walters
Well we certainly know you are doing your part, so thanks Jane for coming in and talking to us. We appreciate it.

Jane Sloane
Thanks so much.


* Donkey, regional word that belongs to the realm of childhood. If a kid gives someone a lift, as a passenger, on a bicycle, in most parts of Australia this is called a dink or a double. In parts of Adelaide, however, it is called a donkey. Do kids still give dinks or donkeys, or are these words that are on their way out of Australian English? Donkey, however, is an important part of the history of South Australian English.
courtesy ABC Adelaide Blog – Top 10 SA phrases and words

Letter from San Francisco #10

Golden Gate Bridge at Duskby Thomas hawk http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/
I’m back in San Francisco after a trip to New York in a week where a lot has happened in politics, everywhere in the world.

I was on the plane headed back to San Francisco when I received the first tweets about the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, being deposed by the former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. It’s one of those times you don’t want to be surrounded by a plane full of strangers; instead you want to talk about what’s happened. I looked around at people on the plane.  Everything seemed so normal and yet…just in the winged time of a plane trip there’d been a change of prime minister in my country.

Giving her farewell speech, Julia Gillard spoke of her belief that, “Being the first female prime minister does not explain everything about my prime ministership, nor does it explain nothing about my prime ministership .” She also said that, as a result of her being the first woman prime minister, it would be easier for the next female prime minister, and easier again for the next female prime minister after her.

Since Gillard has said she will not re-contest her seat at the September Federal elections, it remains speculative as to what she’ll do next, at a relatively young age. Many other women leaders, older than Julia Gillard, have left their role as prime minister or president of their country and have gone on to international leadership positions.  This includes Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, now heading the United Nations Development Program, and Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, who became the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and is now heading her own international, and highly effective, Climate Change Foundation.

Meanwhile, in the United States it’s been a week of Supreme Court rulings, one ruling resulting in marriage equality taking a great stride forward when the Supreme Court held that the federal government could no longer deny recognition to legally married same-sex couples.  It was also the week of an 11 hour filibuster by Senator Wendy Davis in the state senate in Texas in order to thwart draconian abortion legislation introduced by Texas Republicans that drew national attention and citizen action across America.

Wendy Davis, stood for 11 hours without being able to take a break or sit down in order to stop this legislation being passed before the pumpkin deadline of midnight.  She was cheered on by hundreds of supporters who filled the Capital Building and who broke into song (‘Eyes of Texas’) when it was clear that the bill would not be passed by the end of the special session. The passing of this law would have meant that even women who had been raped would be unable to secure an abortion and it would also defund Planned Parenthood thus vastly reducing access to contraception for women who are poor.  This was also after a Texas Republican state senator, Jodie Laubenberg, caused outrage when she said that rape crisis kits could ‘clean out’ a victim thus suggesting that a kit designed to assist forensic testing could morph into an abortion procedure.

Even as many women and men celebrated a tenuous victory in Texas (the Governor of Texas proposed a new special session to get the legislation passed), others were gearing up in the state of Ohio where sweeping new anti-abortion legislation was being pushed through by Ohio Republicans.

“This bill that we defeated in Texas was part of a much bigger narrative,” Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said in an interview The New York Times columnist, Gail Collins. “This opposition had been growing for months with the attacks on Planned Parenthood, the closing of women’s health centers, a whole series of events that just hit the tipping point and really lit a fuse in the state of Texas. This wasn’t just an isolated incident or isolated piece of legislation.”

As Collins says, ‘State-level abortion battles are a bit like a game of whack-a-mole—even if one is defeated, another immediately pops up somewhere else.’ In the case of Ohio, the legislation is so extreme that even rape victims and those women carrying babies with deformities that would not likely survive a full term pregnancy would be refused an abortion.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

During this same week, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg continued to demonstrate the power of dissent, as she had, memorably, in the Lilly Ledbetter case where she read her dissent from the bench and included in it her advice on how to protect future Lilly Ledbetters’.  The first bill that Barack Obama signed as President became the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. In major Supreme Court rulings for the 2012-13 term, Justice Ginsburg has been in the minority for the following Supreme Court decisions: striking down part of the Voting Rights Act; letting stand a race-conscious admissions program in Texas; ruling against human rights groups; reporters and lawyers being able to challenge a government surveillance program; ruling that the police can collect DNA samples from arrestees; ruling that companies can avoid class actions through arbitration agreements.

In response to the majority Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act, Justice Ginsburg again chose to summarize her dissent from the bench, demonstrating the depth of her disagreement with the majority ruling.  She called on Congress to ‘correct this Court’s wayward interpretation’, as it had with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. “For a half century, a concerted effort has been made to end racial discrimination in voting. Thanks to the Voting Rights Act, progress once the subject of a dream has been achieved and continues to be made….The sad irony of today’s decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective.” “The court errs egregiously,” she concluded, “by overriding Congress’s decision.”

In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg evoked the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. “The great man who led the march from Selma to Montgomery and there called for the passage of the Voting Rights Act foresaw progress, even in Alabama,” she said. “’The arc of the moral universe is long,’ he said, but ‘it bends toward justice, if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task through to completion…’”

What some people don’t know is that King paraphrased his quote from an original quote from Theodore Parker, published in the 1850s. Parker said “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

Parker’s words are compelling in encouraging us to view every act of moral courage as one that expands the sphere of justice. As ethicist Jonathan Parker has said, ‘In other words, morality shows a preference toward truth and justice that far exceeds the countervailing arc of immorality and injustice.’

Ginsburg’s evocation of Martin Luther King Jr’s words in her dissent brings to mind an article written by Peniel E Joseph, the founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy in The New York Times on June 11th 2013 about an event that took place 50 years ago. In June 1963, President John F Kennedy, responding to the racial segregation in Alabama, instructed the National Guard to peacefully enroll two black students at the University of Alabama over the Governor of Alabama’s strident objections.

Kennedy spoke on national television on the evening of June 11th ‘when he asked “every American, regardless of where he lives” to stop and examine his conscience.’ The president spoke about the race revolution sweeping the land and Joseph reports that ‘Kennedy not only reported the revolution but invited Americans of all backgrounds to engage in the kind of civic activism that reflects the tough work of democracy. “A great change is at hand and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all.” Kennedy then announced comprehensive civil right legislation to secure school desegregation and to address other civil rights abuses occurring across the country.

The civil rights bill was finally signed into law by President Johnson on July 2nd 1964 after Kennedy’s assassination. As Joseph says ‘without the moral forcefulness of the June 11th address the bill might never have gone anywhere… Kennedys’ words anticipated some of the key themes found in King’s soaring March on Washington address two months later. And that shared moral force, that commonality of thinking between the two speeches…reminds us of…when presidential leadership and grass roots activism worked in creative tension to turn the narrative of civil rights from a regional issue into a national story promoting racial equality and national renewal.’

Holding governments and corporations to account for laws and behavior that should never be tolerated is critical.  Ensuring that governments uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is essential.  Ensuring that people know their rights and how to seek justice when their rights, or children’s rights, have been violated is one of the most important actions we can take at this time.

Last week we heard of a 12 year old girl who had been repeatedly raped by her father, uncle and godfather in the San Pedro prison in La Paz.  She is now pregnant.  This in a prison where hundreds of children are taken to be close to their parents who have been sentenced to prison for their crimes and where these children are required to share space with murderers, rapists, gang members and drug dealers. This happened in a country where cocaine usage and dealing is so widespread that it is normalized and mainstreamed into everyday life and where even visitors to this prison could buy cocaine while the police turn a blind eye.

How is it that innocent girls are locked up, and then further violated by criminals while other criminals remain on the streets and are protected by the normalizing of the drug trade in that country?

“The problem is not that children are inside prisons – the problem is that there are no state policies for the protection of children,” says Yolanda Herrera, president of the independent Human Rights Assembly.  “It is traumatic to live in a place like this,” said Stefano Toricini, a volunteer for an Italian non-governmental organization who has provided counseling to children at San Pedro for the past decade. “The kids live in a state of constant psychological pressure, and the culture of violence that pervades. “

At least in Bolivia, women can now use a new law that was promulgated on March 9th 2013 which broadens protection of women against various forms of violence and establishes the eradication of violence against women as a priority of the State. The law also includes the crime of ‘femicide’ – in which a woman is murdered due to the fact that she is female, with a prison term of 30 years without pardon. This in a country that has the highest gender based violence in Latin America.

This comprehensive law was made possible due to the courageous, brilliant and persistent work of women’s rights organizations working with the government to ensure its effective content, drafting and passing.  This is why the work of the Global Fund for Women is so important in sustaining the work of women’s rights organizations over many years to ensure the adoption of the necessary legal frameworks to protect women against violence, trafficking and gender-motivated killings and to ensure the prosecution of perpetrators.

It also again speaks to the potent fusion of grass roots activism working in creative tension with political and government leadership to get laws passed to secure justice, equality and renewal.

There are so many other battles to be fought in this regard.  Such as justice for undocumented women farm workers, and their daughters in the United States and many other countries where many women and their daughters have been sexually harassed and/or raped in the field by other workers and by supervisors and managers.  Even when undocumented women do summon the courage to take their case to court, they’re often laid off from their jobs at this time and they must secure legal support and be prepared to go the long mile to have their case heard in court. And even if the company settles out of court, the perpetrator is not subject to criminal action in the US and so he remains free and at large.

Without companies being held to account by governments for the protection of their workers’ human rights while they are working, women farm workers, and their daughters, will continue to be vulnerable to abuse. Without governments committed to protecting all their citizens and not just the powerful, not just those financing political campaigns, not just those who voted them into power, not just those who comprise the majority ethnic or religious group in a country, not just those of one sex or sexuality, we will not see justice for women and girls – or indeed peace in our time.

We can take note of the power of disruption and the power of dissent to realize a different world.  We can take heart from those who have worked so long for women’s human rights and who are inherent parts of this moral arc curving toward truth and justice.

I was glad to have a weekend back in Sausalito.  As I walked the coastline, I saw a man juggling on the top of a cliff top with the ocean as a backdrop.  Nearby, a man balanced rocks on top of each other – I held my breath.   It was a fine balance.  He smiled at me and gave me one of his postcards

I walked on to the houseboat arts collective where two girls were selling lemonade that they’d made.  “Would you like some lemonade? It’s fifty cents a glass,” one of the girls asked me. “Sure, I’d love some,” I said smiling.

I walked along further to my favorite street where, in a shop front window, there was a black and white photo of a young girl facing a wide inviting space. I was transfixed. “Can you please tell me about this image?” I asked the woman in the shop. “It’s a picture that my husband took of our daughter, Audrey, at the Museum of Modern Art,” she said. ‘I’m so glad you like it’

So, ‘Audrey at the MoMA’ affirmed for me an image of a girl’s innocence, hope, humanity and happiness – a blank canvas for her to run towards, hopscotch, encircle or complete in any way she chooses.

“Cut not the wings of your dreams, for they are the heartbeat and the freedom of your soul.” Flavia

“The best protection any woman can have … is courage.”
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Jane Sloane – San Francisco

Tweets from #WD2013 – Thursday May 30th 2013

Final day of the Womens Deliver 2013 conference

A short video of me talking about Day 2 by @fhi360

#WDLive: Jane Sloane, Vice President of Programs, Global Fund for Women from FHI 360 on Vimeo.

Tweets from #WD2013 – Thursday May 30th 2013

Final day of the Womens Deliver 2013 conference

Final day of the Womens Deliver 2013 conference

Final day of the Womens Deliver 2013 conference

Final day of the Womens Deliver 2013 conference

Final day of the Womens Deliver 2013 conference

http://storify.com/janeintheworld/tweets-from-wd2013-thursday-may-30th-2013