UYD 2016 – the space for inspiration on Women’s Rights

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It is already one day left for the end of this event while participants continue exploring the intercultural dialogue that UYD provides them. The proverb “alone I go faster, together we go further” defines the spirit of UYD regarding gender equality. Two days ahead the launching of the United Nations Campaign “The Orange Day” to prevent gender violence and promote equality, UYD participants have shared how UYD have helped them to transform gender stereotypes.

Ubuntu ("I am, because we are") philosophy has spread on the atmosphere of University for Youth and Development. These days, participants have had the opportunity of sharing their reflections about gender equality, addressing such challenging topics as women rights or combating gender stereotypes. UYD provides a meeting place for the exchange between the different realities that woman face in their daily lives. “What I have learnt here about women rights is that everyone has some special issues to fight for. We do not face the same problems, but sharing our experiences make us to find a solution for all of them”, says Hanane Kaouane, Project Coordinator at SIDRA NGO in Algiers.

Different realities, needs and experiences have created a common space to learn from, preventing cultural prejudices that many times contribute with the more stereotyping of women. In words of Maria Ballesteros, AEGEE member: “This is a safe space in which intercultural dialogue is a must. When you exchange your ideas with women from other countries, cultures and religions you break the prejudices you have already from them.”

“Before coming to UYD I thought I was going to be the different, but two hours after my arrival I was feeling at home. Despite how different we are, we share a common point, that are our souls, peace in our soul” - Hanane states. Ghizlan Charef, member of Socialist Young Union, has found here an environment of listening free of prejudices: “What I consider so important is to do not forget the sociological context from which we see reality.”

In a society in which multiculturalism concept coexist with the intercultural and transculturally ones, understanding the own struggles of each woman are essential. “Women Rights movements can be developed from very different perspectives and realities, but above all, freedom and mutual respect have to be the rule in this fight” - reflects Marta Rosique, member of the National Council for Catalonian Youth.

“We have to fight for our dreams. It is our duty to find solutions for the challenges we face. It´s up to us to be the generation that respect women's rights, and we must do it raising our voices together, respecting our own struggles”, Hanane Kaouane states.

In the end, UYD has provided platforms where people from different countries, backgrounds and cultures have had the chance to reflect about women empowerment equality. In words of Ayo Wallance, artist and member of The Ubele Initiative, “UYD is an incubator for providing solutions for the empowerment on equality. Thanks to the non-formal education tools used here, as well as the creativity and diversity this place inspires, we have had the opportunity to connect with each other. This is so powerful, and I see a great potential coming out of this”.

Ana Santamaría