End Gender Discrimination Now! in Malaysia, Pakistan and Paraguay

Panel selects three winners and six runners-up; entries from 63 countries

January 22, 2014: Coalition-building and creativity were key to the winning strategies submitted to the End Gender Discrimination Now! contest organized by four partners: Gender at Work, the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), BRIDGE, and the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)  Argentina. Three first prize winners and six runners-up were selected from more than 250 submissions from 63 countries.

Winners were selected in three categories:

Kuña Pyrenda - Una Apuesta Politica (Paraguay), won in the Gen-Change category, which recognizes strategies to fight gender discrimination in organizations and communities. Kuña Pyrenda challenged the political system in Paraguay, forming the first-ever women’s political movement in the country, based on socialist feminist principles and shared leadership. They contested in the 2013 elections, extending their effort to 12 provinces. While they did not win any seats in this first attempt, they are determined to grow their movement for future elections.

Freedom Traveller (Pakistan) won in the Gen-novation category, which sought innovative strategies that were in an incubation period. Momal Mushtaq from Pakistan received the award for her proposal to launch a travel service supporting women in countries that limit their mobility. In its first three months of piloting their idea, Freedom Traveler invited women to share their photos to support freedom of movement for women and received 150+ photos from 40 countries. Here's the link to the growing e-catalog: http://iamfree.thefreedomtraveller.com/ and to the website: http://thefreedomtraveller.com/.

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) submitted Aiyoh-Wat Lah (Malaysia) which won the GenTruth award, for courage in shedding light on new or growing forms of gender discrimination. JAG, a coalition of seven Malaysian human rights organizations, acts to raise awareness on sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and/or transphobia, and to encourage higher standards of behaviour from public figures and institutions in relation to gender and sexuality. Have a quick look at the spoof ceremony at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB_wRyR4Yww.

Six additional organizations were selected for honorable mentions, for providing inspiring examples of the multiple pathways to challenge gender discrimination.  

From Argentina, One-Stop Shops for Gender Equality (Centro Integral de Género) were created by the Airport Security Forces. They provide comprehensive services to individuals who experience workplace or family violence, and support security forces to offer equal opportunities and end discrimination in the workplace across the gender spectrum.

From Armenia, Theater for Change – an interactive theater group – and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) produced Lawsuit over Stolen Rainbow. This won for creating a public performance that toured the country, reaching over 3,000 young people with a creative way of joining efforts to end gender discrimination and gender-based violence. Their video provides a glimpse: http://lawsuit-over-stolen-rainbow.blogspot.com.  

From Colombia, La Experiencia de las Casas de Igualdad is an innovative initiative from the Women’s Rights Office in Bogotá, Colombia. They have established 20 localities throughout the city where women can come for support to transcend gender inequality in relation to different spheres of rights such as violence, political participation and equality at work, among others. Watch their video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcTp6Zza-x4

From India, Akshara catalyzed offical and citizen action to increase safety in Mumbai. Their advocacy led to the establishment of the first-ever 24-hour, city-run helpline and they are using the Cairo-based harassmap platform to track experiences and unsafe spaces. Their Harassmap is available at www.harassmap-mumbai.org and see their video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOM6M9uUYy8.

From Palestine, Radio Nissa FM is the first commercial women’s radio station in the Arab World. As a leading radio station in Palestine, it helps women overcome traditional cultural segregation; connects them to each other; and tries to change the perception of women’s role in their society.

From South Africa, Hospersa is a 68,000-member trade union that has taken steps to eliminate gender discrimination. Besides helping workers fight privatization and strive for full employment, they also enable them to access proper training to develop their skills; and promote safe and healthy working conditions.

Winning examples will be featured on the websites of AWID, FLACSO, BRIDGE and Gender at Work, and in Gender at Work’s upcoming publication: Making New Rules: Secrets and Stories from the House of Gender. People behind the winning submissions will also have the opportunity to travel to the next AWID Forum (2016) or a Gender at Work Collaboratory meeting. “We may be reaching a tipping point when it comes to reversing centuries of gender discrimination. The diversity and creativity that thread through all of the entries we received are a testimony to the increasing energy that men and women from all walks of life are devoting to building cultures of equality in their organizations, their countries and their communities,” said Aruna Rao, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Gender at Work, remarking on the quality of entries received. 

About the Organizers:

The Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) is an international, feminist, membership organization committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women's human rights. BRIDGE supports gender advocacy and mainstreaming efforts by bridging the gaps between theory, policy and practice. The Gender, Society and Policies Area of FLACSO Argentina brings together education, research, communication and the development of proposals for policies and programs that promote gender relations based on equality and the acknowledgment of diversity. Gender at Work is an international collaborative that strengthens organizations to build cultures of equality and social justice, with a particular focus on gender equality.

We would like to thank Hivos, Oxfam Novib and Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW), for supporting the book which will feature winning stories.