All of Engender’s latest news. Reports, reviews, books, articles, and information from across Scotland’s women’s sector.
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We all have an opinion on planning. Whether we get frustrated at how far the nursery is from the residential home, feel smug at knowing a hidden cut-through which doesn’t appear on the maps, or have regular arguments with the local Starbucks about why we have to use their bathrooms because the local council shut down all the public toilets. And once you notice how bad some planning decisions are for women, you start seeing them everywhere.
Since I saw the video of Elin Ersson preventing the deportation of a man to Afghanistan from Sweden a few days ago, I just haven’t been able to get it out of my head. When I tell people about it I get goosebumps. It gives me hope in a world where hope seems naïve.
As young women, we are told not to take up space. To sit down and shut up, and never, never to inconvenience others. Elin does none of these things.
Just imagine the bravery that takes. You know that people on the flight are keen to get home, to start their holidays, to visit loved ones. You know that flight attendants are just doing their jobs, and have enough to deal with without this. You know that there are children on the flight who are scared (more by the shouting man who just stole your phone, than by your calm act of bravery). You know that you are drawing attention to yourself online, with all of the dangers that poses for women.
And still you stay standing, voice shaking, to save a life.
If you had between two and three minutes to tell the UN's women's rights committee which issues for women in Scotland they should be focusing on, what would you say? It's one of the odder tasks in women's rights advocacy, and one that we'll be taking on in Geneva in Monday.
The Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is a UN Convention that was developed at the tail end of the 1970s, and was ratified by the UK Government in 1986. Known as the international bill of rights for women, its articles include equal protection for women and equality of access to education, the law, political power and representation, economic resources and social security, and a whole raft of other areas of life. Like other international obligations, its legal status is somewhat murky when it comes to individuals. You can't go along to a Sheriff court in Scotland and assert your CEDAW rights, but courts can consider it when they're making some types of decision (for more info on how CEDAW could help women's rights be realised in Scotland, see our report here.)
The UN CEDAW Committee itself can also sit as a court of inquiry when systemic breaches of rights are taking place, or a kind of court of last resort when individuals have exhausted every legal remedy in their own state. There are some examples of this below.
Whenever my sister in law visits me, she brings a copy of 'the Buzzer', Vancouver's public transport pamphlet. When the Borders' Railway reopened, a friend and I made use of it on the first weekend it was running. When I travelled to Dublin to campaign for #Repealthe8th, I chose a 10 hour bus and boat journey over flying. And I still proudly carry my platinum ticket from the first day of the Edinburgh trams. So it's probably fair to say that I fall fairly firmly into the category of public transport geek.
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