A self-proclaimed ‘born feminist’ - Spreading gender equality around the world!
Andrea says that her well-balanced socialisation as a child, enabled her to have a different world-view, one where women were valued, and rightfully so. She says, “I call myself a born feminist. Questions related to gender equality have always been a vital part of my life. My great grandmother was a fighter for women's rights, as well as one of the first female university students in Finland, and my parents have always openly discussed feminist issues in our home.”
This has certainly helped to shape her life as an adult, and to pursue her chosen career. After going to university in London, Andrea was a trainee at the UN, the OSCE, and the European Commission, working with Human Rights - and gender related issues. In February 2011 she left for Fiji to serve as a UN Volunteer for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), where she also became part of the UN Gender Group, as well as a member of the UNITE Campaign combating violence against women.
Andrea has added to her list of activisms, she has now also become Chair of the Helsinki Feminist Group. Andrea says, “I am also spreading the message of gender equality via the web; since April 2010 I have a blog called Genderthoughts where I post articles and reports on various gender-related themes. I believe in the power of words and I intend to continue advocating on women's rights - which has turned out to be an exciting journey where new opportunities keep opening up.”
Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General, has publicly stated that, 'Violence against women is always a violation of human rights; it is a crime; and it is always unacceptable. Let us take this issue with the deadly seriousness that it deserves.' His UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign aims to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls in all parts of the world. View the UN Secretary interview on the role of youth in Ending Violence against Women.
The UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women maintains that gender-sensitive law reform is the foundation for women’s access to justice. This promotes the advancement of a more equitable status for women in society. For instance, although there have been improvements, the following examples underscore the current inequities:
- Two thirds of countries have laws in place against domestic violence, but many countries still do not explicitly criminalise rape within marriage
- There is a clear positive correlation between women’s representation in the police and reporting of sexual assault
- Rural poor women are much less likely than urban rich women to receive assistance from a skilled heath professional during childbirth
Current UN Women statistics on women:
Although equality between women and men is guaranteed in the Constitutions of 139 countries and territories, inadequate laws and implementation gaps make these guarantees hollow promises, having little impact on the day-to-day lives of women. In many contexts, in rich and poor countries alike, the infrastructure of justice – the police, the courts and the judiciary – is failing women, which manifests itself in poor services and hostile attitudes from the very people whose duty it is to meet women’s rights.