What do women and the sea have in common? Both are irreplaceable.

Dr. Patricia Morales had invited students and staff of the Faculty of Arts on March 18 to a panel discussion in the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) to jointly discuss the implementation of the sustainability goals of the Agenda 2030, particularly goal 5 on women.

In the event, she had invited Prof. Stella Williams from Nigeria and Dr. Cornelia E. Nauen of Mundus maris. Inevitably, the particularly timely debate on preventing female genital mutilation played a big role. In Belgium there are e.g. clinics in Ghent and Brussels, where particularly harmful infibulation can be reversed through surgery and the protection of physical integrity is especially encouraged. But in many countries, such as Somalia, the vast majority of girls still suffer such mutilations. Stella Williams was able to contribute some, even personal, experiences on the issue.

With the adoption of the Agenda 2030, the governments of Member States of the United Nations (UN) have agreed on 17 sustainability goals. Among others, they pledged thereby to strengthen the goal no. 5, with national measures for women's rights in particular, in order to achieve gender equality worldwide by 2030. 20 years after the Fourth World Conference on Women, there are significant advances in gender equality worldwide. The number of women in parliaments has increased significantly, technological advances enable participation of more women, girls are better represented worldwide at all levels.

And yet, many barriers remain based alone on gender: poverty worldwide has a female face, the proportion of women in part-time and low-wage sectors is significantly higher, women die of insufficient health care, at and after birth, they often can not autonomously decide about their bodies and are highly affected by violence and human trafficking.

Economic independence is a prerequisite of equality and equity. Right now, Mundus maris is looking for cooperation and co-financing in order to identify and develop, together with women in the small-scale fishing in Senegal, project ideas for the implementation of their priority needs. The terms of reference for an exploratory mission can be seen here. Anyone who wants to support this participatory approach, is invited to contact Questo indirizzo email è protetto dagli spambots. È necessario abilitare JavaScript per vederlo..

The subsequent reception in the lobby of the Erasmus House offered ample opportunity to deepen exchanges while enjoying snacks and drinks.

(Photos by CE Nauen)