The voice of Emmy Galama from The Netherlands
Emmy is a permanent representative of the International Council of Women at the UN-HABITAT in Nairobi and Geneva (EU). She has more than 30 years of experience in sharing practices in various women’s organisations, both national and international including Het Zeeuws Vrouwen Platform, De Nederlandse Vrouwen Raad and the HUAIROU Commission. I had the honour to work with Emmy piloting a program to help survivors of domestic violence to fully participate in society and travelled with her in 2012 to The World Urban Forum in Naples.
Essence of this conversation
It is an illusion to assume that emancipation and women’s rights will continue to be respected; especially in Europe people are almost bored with these themes and all related issues. If we are not careful these legal agreements, that are human rights, will deteriorate again and laws that have been taken for granted will even less be applied. Women and men need to be attentive and stay on the ball. The Me-too movement has brought about some change, yet domestic violence against women, does not diminish as statistics show.
However on local and regional level women around the world, whether in the Philippines, Guatemala, the Bronx in New York or South Africa, are better prepared due to previous disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as wars and the HIV virus. They have learned to organize themselves and structure their impact in the caring sectors and around essential necessities such as food and water supply also thanks to international collaboration. These women, often united in various grassroots organizations, should be in the spotlight, heard and reinforced and celebrated for their positive impact on the communities rather then marginalised.
Because of her medical background Emmy is being asked to advise with regards to medicines in this crisis. She pragmatically states that it does indeed matter whether you live in the Netherlands or somewhere in a slum. Especially basic medicines such as Davitamon and Paracetamol are always in her suitcase when she travels as they are not as easily available as in The Netherlands.
According to Emmy this Corona crisis also shows that our way of working can be organised differently. Partly because of the current technical possibilities, people can work more from home with all the additional positive effects such as less driving, pollution and stress. If employers and employees then also make agreements about, wherever possible, fewer hours at the office, this could create a different balance between work and private life for many working parents and more shared quality time with the children.
Many thanks Emmy.