Published: Fri, 08 March 2019
Sean Kelly MEP and leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament has today marked the 108th International Women’s Day by calling for increased support for survivors of gender-based violence.
Speaking from Warsaw today (Friday) where Mr. Kelly is representing Ireland at a meeting of the European People’s Party leaders, he highlighted the need to speed up gender balance around the world, in line with this year’s theme ‘Balance for Better’.
Speaking about the importance of promoting gender equality, Mr. Kelly underlined that while the movement has facilitated major progress in recent years, there is still a lot of work to do.
“Today we celebrate the many social, economic, cultural and political achievements of the women that have shaped our society.
“However, despite the efforts made to tackle gender inequalities over the last century, today is also a stark reminder that women and girls still face discrimination every day because of their gender, with many subjected to gender-based violence.
“Gendered violence can include sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, and affects the lives of many Irish women as these types of violence are rooted in power inequalities between women and men. As such, women and girls are particularly vulnerable to this and we all have an important role in helping to change this reality for future generations.”
A reported one in three women in Ireland has faced psychological violence in their relationships, while fourteen percent were subjected to physical violence by a partner since the age of 15 and twelve percent experienced stalking, including cyber stalking.
The Rape Crisis Network Ireland reported that two-thirds of incidents of rape in Ireland is perpetrated by someone known to the victim, with the victims’ own home being the single most common location.
“Gender violence continues to be stigmatised and under-reported in Ireland, meaning that what we actually hear about is only a fraction of the reality.
“The gender equality movement has reached an unprecedented scale in recent years, with millions speaking out about their experiences of harassment and assault. I was glad to support the European Parliament’s training on harassment prevention last year to highlight the issue, but unfortunately many other MEPs chose not to participate.
“Eliminating gender discrimination goes beyond the obvious need for equality. Gendered violence places huge costs on both our economy and society, and so it makes economic sense to fund specialised prevention and mitigation services to counteract this.
“Gender balance is crucial to our economy as well as for equality between people of any gender, ability, or race” he concluded.