Both teaching and helping women in need
Professor Dalia Leinarte firmly believes in the implementation of gender equality policies for the benefit of all women, especially for the vulnerable ones. She has been providing support for abused women for over 20 years now. She played a very important role as she was a publicly well-known and respected academic who spoke on behalf of stigmatized women. This had great significance in drawing attention to the problem of sexual violence against women in post-Soviet society.
She was also the first academic in Lithuania who, with her colleague in 1998, founded the non-government women’s organization “Praeities Pedos” (Traces of the Past). One of the most painful problems of the time in Eastern Europe was the struggle against the abuse of women and girls. The organization was amongst the first in Lithuania to introduce into public discourse the concept of “women victims of trafficking”. Up until then all the women and girls who suffered this form of sexual abuse were viewed as prostitutes.
The NGO headed by Dalia Leinarte, initiated and wrote the scenario for the first Lithuanian documentary film about trafficking in women called “Mergaites” (Girls). It also organized the first nation-wide prevention campaigns in Lithuania. As well as organizing and publicising the first two studies on this topic. Dalia Leinarte spent several years collecting the personal accounts of such victims. This work has helped changing public perception to recognise these women, as victims of non-consensual acts of a sexual nature.
A key role in CEDAW
She has received national and international recognition. In her country Dalia Leinarte is a recognized gender equality expert and defender of women’s rights. An especially strong example of the recognition of her work is that in 2012 the Lithuanian government nominated her as a candidate for the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN (CEDAW). She was successfully elected.
Dalia Leinarte is also a consultant of the Inter-Ministerial Commission on Equal Opportunities of Women and Men (Ministry of Social Security and Labour, Lithuania, 2000–present). She is a member of the working group for the Community of Democracies, Gender Equality (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lithuania, 2010–present), and she participated in drafting the reports of Lithuania to CEDAW, UN (2004, 2007). She also drafted the Review of the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action Adopted, at the Fourth World Conference on Women Beijing 1995 (2004).