During the Asia workshop which gathered all partner organisations from Asia to Kathmandu, Nepal, a moment was also dedicated to the gender aspect, by showing a movie on gender violence.

Participants highlighted afterwards that some empowerment has taken place, despite cultural barriers and legal discrimination. Violence against women does not have as a single victim the women, but the entire society suffers from this. Participants felt culture allows or facilitates this but is made by people, who can change. The role of religion is also underlined. One felt that there was too much focus on southern countries in the movie, while there is also still a lot of discrimination in the West. Conventions and laws are adopted, but mentalities and practices change only slowly.

Does more freedom lead to less violence, questions one participant? One participant felt that since watching the movie, he better understood the size of the issue and how present it is worldwide, and how he was shocked by some men proudly stating how many women they had raped.

Some good messages and actions were shown or suggested, which we can use as inspiration. However, while the movie focused on physical and emotional violence, what was less shown was the burden placed on women, workwise, taking care of the family, to provide etc. These are structural injustices that need to be addressed. There are many political aspects behind each conflict, of which women are those first victims.

Bruno concluded by stating that in 2014, 56% of the beneficiaries of the SAARC WSM programme were women, which might seem like a good result, but taking into consideration the partners which are strongly or exclusively focusing on women (domestic workers, informal economy, garment and health workers), it could and should be a lot higher. As it is one of the five areas which is dealt with in the capacity strengthening tools of WSM, which some have prioritized, but too often, it is limited to attempts at increasing women presence or quotas, but not really mainstreaming gender inside the organisation.

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