In the past few years we have taken significant steps to be a voice of shelters and the women and children they serve. We made the work of shelters more visible by presentations during the yearly meeting of Commission of the Status of Women of the UN. We urged governments to take action through our Call for Action. Through the organization of World Conferences we made it possible for shelter workers to exchange their knowledge and expertise and made their work more visible. Below a few highlights.
Fourth World Conference of Women's Shelters
The Fourth World Conference of Women's Shelters was held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Hosted by The Garden of Hope, sharing the motto 'Impact and Solidarity'. A vibrant gathering of 1000 workers of almost 100 countries shared their work and inspiration. The President of Taiwan welcomed us and Eve Ensler let us all dance on the One Billion Rising Anthem. GNWS launched the initiative for the Wordwide Women's Helplines Project. See the website https://fourth.worldshelterconference.org/en
Presentation on Economic Enpowerment
A presentation on the Economic empowerment of women survivors was held at the NGO-forum during CSW61, March 2017 in New York. Economic Empowerment is without doubt an important strategy to prevent Violence Against Women. Shelters all over the world and their (local) partners develop programs to increase the economic empowerment of women survivors. Examples of good practices from Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, Taiwan and the USA were presented.
Third World Conference of Women’s Shelters
A thousand delegates from 115 countries met at the Third World Conference of Women’s Shelters in The Hague. The conference was hosted by the Dutch Foundation of Women’s Shelters, with the support of the Dutch Government and lots of other sponsors. At the opening the first Women World Journal ever was presented. See the website www.worldshelterconference.org for more information, pictures and short movies.
Multi-language Poster Campaign
A Poster campaign was held with the message (in many languages): “Shelters, Refuges and Centres will be there for all Women until Gender Based Violence Stops”. Special attention was drawn to femicide. Femicide is a severe form of Violence Against Women, it happens in every country, but is hardly recognized as a form of Violence Against Women (in statistics the gender-neutral term “homicide” is often used.)
Second World Conference of Women’s Shelters
The Second World Conference of Women’s Shelters was held in Washington, DC, USA. Hosted by the U.S. National Network to End Domestic Violence and the Global Network of Women's Shelters (GNWS), this conference was attended by 1400 delegates from 96 countries. Important was the connection between the local and regional networks in so many parts of the world. The GNWS-interim board was presented at this conference.
Meeting in Amsterdam
A meeting was held in Amsterdam about resources and issues affecting shelters around the globe, and to discuss the outreach to each global region and how to respond as a Global Network. Representatives of the Dutch women’s shelters and their partners joined the closing meeting. GNWS awards were given two women (a researcher and a police-women) and one man (mayor of a lager Dutch city) for their outstanding work in the approach of Violence Against Women. See here for a report.
Meeting on global shelters
The first GNWS presentation was given at the 54th session of the UN Commission of the status of women (CSW54). GNWS members from around the world presented burning issues in their countries and in their shelter work. Two GNWS-Awards were given to two (female) Ministers from Austria and Mexico. They were active in the prevention of Violence Against Women and supporters of shelter-work: an example for all representatives of governments in the world.
First meeting of initiative group in Ottawa
The Global Network of Women’s Shelters was founded at a meeting of the initiative group in Ottawa. In this first meeting the foundations were laid for our vision, purpose, goals, values and definitions. We expressed that the base of the Global Network should be to strengthen local, regional and continental shelter networks. GNWS can connect them and stimulate exchange of experience and expertise.
First world Conference of Women’s Shelters in Edmonton Canada
The First World Conference of Women’s Shelters was held in September 2008 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This historic conference was hosted by the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters. During this conference, shelter organizations and national networks met to discuss issues impacting women and girls surviving violence. They identified the clear need to form a global organization (which became the Global Network of Women's Shelters)