By Ellie Hutchinson, Director at The Empower Project. This article was written for GlobalGoals.Scot
The Empower Project is a voluntary organisation that supports communities to end violence against women. So that’s our tag line- but what does that mean? And why did we come about? And what has this got to do with the global goals? Well, quite a lot really. Violence against women and girls is both a cause and a consequence of gender inequality. This means that sexism (and sexist beliefs) are directly related to a community’s support of violence and abuse. The more a community supports violence, the more likely it is to occur. To end violence against women, we have to end sexism, and to do this, we have to end gender inequality. Whether it’s about equal pay, access to decent sex education, or rape “jokes”-sexism is everywhere and it has real and devastating consequences for all of us.
We also know that women are doubly affected by poverty and by environmental issues. They are the first hit by climate change and by poor sanitation. We know that girls are less likely to get a good education and are more likely to have poor health– particularly when it comes to reproductive health care, childbirth and FGM. We know that over a third of women across the globe have been abused. We know that when women are educated, supported and heard- when women are given a seat at the table, all of us- our families, our communities and our nations- benefit. Gender inequality isn’t a local issue, but a global problem. To quote Audre Lorde “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”
We came about because we wanted to approach violence prevention as a community issue- that every single member of every single community can make a change. To do this we deliver training and workshops on a number of issues- so called revenge porn, bystander approaches, gender and aspirations to name a few. We know that we can’t make this change alone so we’re open to all- we want to go to where people are now, not where we want them to be. We’re in the process of getting set up as an official charity, and we will be hearing from our members (anyone who supports our goals!) on what they think our priorities should be. We called ourselves The Empower Project because we truly believe that through providing knowledge and spaces for discussion and connection- individuals and communities will be empowered to make positive political, social and cultural changes. In other words- that they will want to end sexism.
We know that when everyone, in all communities, can live a safe and fulfilling life free from fear, free from poverty, free from abuse, all of us, in every community, will benefit.
To find out more go to our website www.empowerprojectscotland.com follow us on twitter @empowerprojscot or find us on Instagram at empowerproject_