- Russian Federation
I graduated from law school with distinction in corporate law and I was sure that I would be working in business. Back then, if someone told me that I would be working to stop gender-based discrimination, my face would have grown long; because no one had ever told me that one in three women in the world suffers from gender-based violence in one of its forms or another. In fact, I would have hardly believed them!
Some years later I started working with Russian women’s rights organisations to defend women who fell victims of domestic violence in court. According to the statistics provided by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 30 000 women fall victims of domestic abuse every year, while the data from women’s rights organisations reveal that this number is ten-fold or even higher.
Unfortunately, and despite these horrific stats, there is no legislation in Russia to protect the victims of domestic violence. Russian women’s rights organisations have prepared a draft of the Domestic Violence Act and we are all hoping it’s going to pass into a law one day.
Domestic violence is one of the grossest forms of gender based violence that women face all over the world. Today, thanks to Oxfam, we can bring global policy-makers’ attention to this problem at the international decision-making fora, such as BRICS and G20.
For instance CIVIL BRICS, where I have participated together with my colleagues from the Empowering Civil Society Networks Programme of Oxfam, had no specific working group dedicated to women’s rights. With the help of Oxfam, the Russian women’s rights activists managed to include gender equality and elimination of the salary gap between men and women into the agenda of the final CIVIL BRICS Appeal to the Leaders.
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to track whether our asks have been taken into account by the BRICS decision-makers, because the commitment monitoring system is just not there yet. That is why it’s important to act together with women’s rights groups around the world; to push for the adoption of a monitoring mechanism and, also, to keep the dialogue with the policy-makers on both national and global level going; because only together we can win.
Photo: Katya Pomelova/Oxfam
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