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8 March: International Day of the Working Woman

igualtat7With time the month of March has come to be recognised for its celebration of the women of Formentera, dovetailing with the International Working Women's Day, 8 March. The women of Formentera come out strong in their celebration of this important day, the one moment dedicated every year to social mobilisation and ending the discrimination that continues to effect an unequal access to resources.

Once again, the Espai Dones Association, with the collaboration of Formentera's Office of Equality, has prepared activities for the entire month of March. These activities have taken a reflective turn. From a photo exhibition reinforcing feminine expression to traditional storytelling, which, this latter, for the second year running and due to the great success received by the first edition, will also be directed at younger residents. Additional activities will include the V homage to adult women – extremely important to the adult population – which celebrates the history of the woman in Formentera.

The remaining cultural acts, all of which place the woman at the forefront, vary from informational talks to a theatrical production and a make-up workshop, without forgetting the traditional sisterhood supper. New to the panorama this year is the 8 March events schedule, the product of a contest organised by Espai Dones aimed at increasing the participation of younger residents. The winner was Júlia Tur Mayans.

The events programme was made possible by the Espai Dones Association, which devotes efforts year after year to the celebration of the International Working Women's Day and the International Day against Domestic Violence. These days mark relevant moments in women's fight for effective equality and empowerment. Mainly, the celebration organised around this day represents an important thrust of momentum for the defence and awareness of women's rights.

Formentera's Espai Dones Association
Espai Dones Formentera is a not-for-profit women's association. It was founded 5 March 2007 by a group of women who for many years had organised events for 8 March, International Working Women's Day.

The association's purpose is to promote gender equality and provide women with counsel, as well as organise workshops and educational and recreational events. It is a space for encounters, dialogue, development of social well-being, fun and collaboration with local entities for the official commemoration of days significant to the struggle for equality.

The association works actively with the Spanish Association against Cancer in its numerous campaigns, takes part in Formentera's Intercultural Day, an event organised by the Office of Social Welfare, and also participates in the sale of second-hand books for the Day of Sant Jordi.

Espai Dones encourages all the women of Formentera to join in the use of this space. The contact number is 697.941.016, or they can also be reached by email at: espaidonesformentera@hotmail.com.

Accord for the promotion of equality and prevention of domestic violence

espaidones webToday, the president of the Formentera Island Council, Jaume Ferrer, together with Maria Antònia Ferragut, the president of the association Espai Dones, signed a collaborative accord between the two entities. The accord will serve to strengthen and formalise the close collaboration that has come to exist between the two entities on the issue of equality.

As part of the accord the Council will grant 2,500€ for actions promoting equality and working toward domestic violence prevention. Likewise, Espai Dones commits to programming awareness-raising activities and actions around women's rights and domestic abuse issues. To reach this objective, educational activities and talks are held on subjects of equality and increasing sensibility toward the rights of the woman.

The association was created in 2007 to implicate native Formentera women in the struggle for equality. The Formentera Council's Office of Equality works in close concert with the feminist association, mainly for the events related to the Day of the Woman Worker (8 March) and the International Day against Domestic Violence (25 November), both relevant milestones in the path toward effective equality, but also on women's empowerment issues and violence prevention/rejection. Acts of violence are too present in our societies, and although anyone can be affected, there is nevertheless a greater incidence among women and children.

The Council as a collective is of the opinion that training on equality issues is fundamental to reducing domestic abuse. It is on these issues that the Office of Equality works in conjunction with the Office of Culture, programming events that generate change and promote the advancement of gender equality, fomenting a culture of female empowerment. We consider that every woman must attain a certain empowerment in order to defend herself and prevent domestic violence, especially on an island as pluralistic and diverse as ours.

The Office of Social Welfare carries out two fundamental services for the women of Formentera, the first being immediate support for victims of domestic violence and the second – complementary and of unqualified importance – equal rights training and domestic violence prevention.

The support service for domestic abuse victims comprises immediate attention, mentoring and on-going support for the victims during periods of vulnerability. This service uses tools like the emergency social telephone line (24 hours/day), which relies on a close coordination with the Guardia Civil. The service is also complemented with home-visits when an immediate separation of the victim and her aggressor is necessary. This is realized in collaboration with the Eivissa Women's Office.

It is the duty of the Formentera Island Council – as established by article 31 of the regulatory Organic Law 1/2002 (22 March) on the right of association – to promote and facilitate the development of associations that work in the general public interest while still respecting a fundamental liberty and autonomy with respect to public authority. The law also states that these associations be accorded economic aid and assistance in the undertaking of their activity. To this effect, articles 70.20 of Organic Law 2/1983 (25 February) of the Balearic Islands' Statue of Autonomy, later modified by Organic Law 1/2007 (28 February), state that polices that deal with gender and work-family life balance are to be the remit of the different island councils.

Manifesto of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Espai Dones Formentera
actes25novembre_webEvery year on this day, 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women rears its head. A reminder to continue decrying the social ailment that is violence, a reminder of the victims this violence has left. We must continue to make clear that domestic violence is not a private problem; quite the contrary, it affects society as a whole. It is an expression of the inequity that exists between men and women, based on the supposed superiority of one sex over another. Domestic violence is a drama. It is a great problem in our society and, as such, it must be the collective cause taken up by everyone: men and women.

Silence and resignation are not the solution and they must never be. Neither for the victim of physical or psychological mistreatment nor for those of us that live with someone who is suffering. We cannot tolerate this. Society cannot allow the aggressors to win, and we are the ones that make up our society, the ones with the obligation to provoke change. Domestic violence is an ailment we have fought for years, but this year things are worse than last, because violence against women is being forgotten. Both the national and regional governments alike, with their policies of cutbacks, have caused us to lose ground. They are taking backward steps, the likes of which began with the first official communiqué from Minister Ana Mato that used the term “violence in the family environment” to describe a husband's killing of his wife.

The steps backward had just begun. The national government's budget since 2011 has reduced funding for the prevention of domestic violence by 27%, or more than 8 million euros. In our own autonomous community the Institut Balear de la Dona – an entity charged with fighting domestic abuse – has also seen its funding repeatedly cut. Then there was the PP's decision to tax users for a service that facilitated escape from their abusers, a devastating blow for those women attempting to break free from abusive relationships, one reason being the additional economic difficulties proportioned.

The Domestic Abuse Section of the General Council of the Judiciary (Consell General del Poder Judicial) has already made a serious claim: government cutbacks are responsible for the fact that many battered women, finding themselves once again in a situation of reduced protection, retract charges against their abusers. We can thus conclude that budget cuts in equality policies are putting women – and also their daughters and sons – in at-risk situations.

In the first 11 months of the year, nearly 50 women were killed at the hands of their current or ex-partners. Three of these cases occurred in the Balearics (one in Mallorca and two in Eivissa). However, our current government is one that does not condemn these killings. It does not engage in awareness action, and it is providing less and less support to victims.

Espai Dones wishes to address our society at large and political organisations and parties in particular in a call for a united defence: maintain the budgets and resources necessary to continue programming campaigns in prevention, awareness and support for women.

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