At the door of the Congress of Deputies there is a blue lioness on Wednesday. And inside, three young people sat in front of representatives of all the parliamentary groups for an hour to ask them what they can and what they are going to do to change their future. "One in which there is no need to demand more equality for girls," says Patricia Ramos, a Madrid-based first-year medical student and one of the campaign's ambassadors. Girls Get Equal, which today has been launched by the NGO Plan International in more than 50 countries to promote equality on the occasion of International Day of the Girl, which is celebrated on October 11.
"What do they do to help girls reach leadership positions, so that our history books have more female references?" Asks Ramos, who along with Gege and Yara, from Sidney and Egypt, have put voice and face inequalities and the daily obstacles they face every day just because they are women. Ramos tells how every day, she and all the girls in her environment, have to listen to whistles and compliments of strangers or endure frictions in public transport. "Once a group of guys who did not know anything grabbed me to plant a kiss on my cheek," they complain.
Although he believes that this is changing, especially the visibility of certain problems such as street harassment, he thinks that it is costing them more. "Now, many times, men complain that they can not even look in. Yes, they can, the point is that they do it with respect and if they come to ask, be willing to accept that we can feel uncomfortable and have to stop at that moment, "he adds. In countries like Belgium, Peru, Argentina, Portugal or France there is already regulation in this regard, but in Spain, at the moment, street harassment is not a crime. The Penal Code only collects it as such when acts such as persecuting someone in the street, sending messages or calling them occur repeatedly.
Education and awareness are the bases to achieve the change of perspective in a macho society, but without concrete actions that push, it will not be achieved. That's what Concha López thinks, the director of Plan International in Spain, who was also present at the event in the Congress: "La lona [que se comparte en Twitter con el hashtag #UnaLeonaEnElCongreso] it is a symbol, and symbols are just as important as their meaning. We want to reclaim references, space in those important places where decisions are made and also occupy relevant positions ". The data, he says, are stubborn: in the Administration, among the 329 positions of high responsibility, 254 are occupied by men and 75 women, in the Ibex there are 342 counselors and 106 counselors, and among the 25 largest billionaires in the world there are only five women (Kylie Jenner, Judy Sheindlin, Kate Perry, Ellen Degeneres and Taylor Swift). "And in the list of the most influential personalities in the world in the economic and political sphere, women only represent around 4.4%", espeta López.
Therefore, says the director, the petition is threefold: transformative education to guarantee youth participation, political spaces that encourage young women and the eradication of violence. "It seems very ethereal, but it is not. In the end, we get tangible results. In the last four years we have achieved direct benefits for more than five million girls, "she explains. He adds that, when quotas still exist in a country, it means that political commitment and social sensitivity are not 100% guaranteed.
Last April, Plan International launched Free to Be, a website for two months, girls and young people from Madrid, Kampala, Sydney, Lima and New Delhi to indicate on the map of their cities where they felt more and less safe and, anonymously, include the experiences they had had In those places. Now, the report (In) safe in cities analyzes all these testimonies of around 21,200 young people between 16 and 30 years old. Patricia Ramos (Madrid, 2000) was in the development of the project and is now part of the committee that disseminates these results: "Street harassment exists, every day we meet boys or men who tell us things. It is a safe city, but there are other places that are not so. "
In each city, more than 30% of the participants talked about harassment in reference to someone they know and trust. In Madrid, the report revealed that 49% of those who participated indicated that harassment "happens so frequently" that they were already used to it and in Lima, 33 girls and boys stopped attending school, work or university due to their experience of abuse and harassment. Despite the usual of these events, the formal complaint rate remains at 10% and, in most cases, the authorities did not take any action.
You can download the full report by clicking on this link.