Hi everyone,

This time my blog post will be in English!

I know we don’t write on the blog as often as we would like to, but that is because we are busy doing things 🙂 We will try to get a bit better though, but for now, let me tell you a bit about the upcoming event that we have been working on: Youth UNiTE!

This three-day event will take place from tomorrow (Thursday) till Saturday, and is within the frame of the UNiTE to end Violence against Women, an UN campaign, which is facilitated by UN Women. It is a 16 days campaign which aims to put attention to the importance to end violence against women. Violence against women comes in different forms; it can be physical, psychological or sexual, and examples include; domestic violence, enforced marriages, and rape. Violence against women is the main focus of the general UNiTE campaign, but we have chosen to broaden it a little bit and will also discuss gender inequality and gender roles in general.

Kyrgyzstan has, as most parts of the world, a problem with gender inequality and violence against women. One of the main issues is the general ”acceptance” of violence within the family- it is often seen as “a family issue” and should not be discussed. Kyrgyzstan has ratified several important documents and conventions on women’s rights but the actual implementation is lacking, due both to the resistance of going to the police when something happens and to poor training and understanding by the police and other judicial sections. Very few cases actually end in some kind of punishment for the perpetrator, which probably also do not encourage women to go to the police.

Novi Ritm will try to approach violence against women and gender inequality by different angles through a series of talks and workshops during three days. We have plenty of speakers coming, most of them from Osh but also some from Bishkek. We have something for everyone- even though we focus on youth (we are, after all, a youth organization). It starts with a woman from UN Woman, who will start our campaign by talking about violence against women and how UN Women work with issue, and it is followed by two workshops, one for boys/men and one for girls/women on questions like what it means to be a woman/man in terms of gender roles and future, and how we would like it to be.

Friday is also a busy day, starting with a woman from a shelter for women who flee their homes due to domestic violence, followed by both legal and religious aspects on violence against women through two talks.

Saturday starts with self-defence for girls (even though we aim to have our activities opened for everyone, we choose to have this one only for girls). After lunch, however, we hope that guys will also join in when we listen to a dean from the university, talking about the possibility for a woman to both have a career and family life (a burning issue in Sweden too, I would say). This is followed by our two guests from Bishkek, one will speak on the subjects of how a young activist can work with questions of gender and women empowerment, and the other on what masculinity is and why it is important that men also get engaged in questions about gender equality. The event ends with conclusion and a party in the evening.

We have great hopes and expectations on this campaign- we hope many people will come and listen and start thinking about their role in society and the family. And, if they would like to change it, that they get some inspiration and encouragement. We also hope that many boys/young men will come and understand why those issues are important – because gender roles are also a trap for the man, forcing him to be in a certain way that might not always be wished for.

After the UNiTE campaign we will give you an update of how it went, but until then- take care, think about us and check out information about the UNiTE-campaign in general at http://endviolence.un.org/ !