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Addressing intersecting and multiple forms of discrimination: 
leaving no one behind

By acknowledging the structural inequalities that lie at the intersection of gender and other factors such as age, disability, and membership of a particular ethnic group, ‘Implementing Norms, Changing Minds’ places a strong focus on tackling multiple and intersecting forms discriminations where gender aspects are involved.


The established Regional Expert Working Group on Intersectional Approaches offers a unique opportunity for engagement and dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders on the topic of intersectional oppressions. This engagement includes but is not limited to: UN bodies, intergovernmental and regional organizations such as the Council of Europe (CoE) and the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), national and regional organizations led ‘by and for’ women from disadvantaged groups and minority groups, women’s organizations seeking to develop a stronger intersectional approach to their work, national human rights institutions, and specialized governmental agencies.


Alongside this engagement and dialogue, the programme is bringing attention to addressing intersecting and multiple forms of discrimination through the facilitation of key research. In 2018, over 40 ‘by and for’ organizations representing minoritized groups of women from all programme-participating countries informed the research report published by Imkaan, “A thousand ways to solve our problems: An analysis of existing Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) approaches for minoritized women and girls in the Western Balkans and Turkey.”


The report sought to explore the nature and types of services that exist for minoritized women and girls facing violence in the Western Balkans and Turkey, with the aim of identifying key obstacles to intersectional service delivery and making recommendations from a regional perspective on law reform, policy development, and the provision of support services for minoritized women facing violence. Read the report here.

Following the research, Imkaan is leading the collaboration, connection and learning among ‘by and for’ organizations/ activists across countries through: developing communities of practice for ‘by and for’ organizations to share expertise, points of innovation, and promising practices; co-producing a participatory and innovative training programme on intersectional approaches to VAWG, which draws on the expertise of local leaders/practitioners and knowledge of ‘by and for’ organizations; and producing ‘promising practice briefings’ that ‘by and for’ organizations can use as advocacy tools in the future.

In Albania, more than 500 women and girl members of marginalized communities (persons with disabilities, Roma and Egyptian women, and LGBTI+ community members) are better informed on various forms of violence and services available to victims of violence in their areas through information sessions held by ADRF and HRDC.

ADRF, in partnership with the Roma Women Rights Centre and LGBT Alliance, provided key insights on violence against marginalized communities through their report “Violence against women and girls from disadvantaged communities - An overview of the phenomenon of violence against women and girls from Roma, LGBT and disability communities.” The findings of the report were shared at a conference with key decision-makers to bring their attention to the disproportionate violence committed against marginalized communities. Through nine information sessions held by these partners, 175 LGBTI+ community members, Roma and Egyptian community members, and persons with disabilities are better informed on various forms of violence for which they can seek protection, as well as the services available for survivors of violence. A user-friendly guide with this information – including in alternative formats for women with disabilities (easy read format, Braille, and with audio accompaniments) – was shared with these communities.

In addition, domestic violence legislation now includes improved procedures for the protection of persons with disabilities as a result of recommendations made by Monitoring Network on Gender-based Violence, a network of 48 organizations working to end VAW.


In Bosnia and Herzegovina, organizations that represent marginalized communities – such as Roma women, women with disabilities, single mothers, and women in rural communities – are better equipped to report on the specific status of the groups they represent through capacity building workshops held by United Women Banja Luka. In addition, over 70 women from rural communities are better able to identify various forms of VAW and the protective services available in their communities through trainings organized by Vive Zene. Finally, 56 representatives of service providers have improved their understanding of issues related to multiple discrimination and the specific needs of women belonging to disadvantaged groups through 3 workshops on anti-discrimination, prejudice and stereotypes in community work held by Bolja Buducnost Roma Women’s Association.


To build the trust of Roma women toward local service providers, Bolja Buducnost Roma Women’s Association brought together over 100 Roma women and representatives of service provider institutions in 3 municipalities to discuss issues related to unequal access to services in the Roma community and to allow women to directly share their concerns with service providers. As a result, 16 Roma women received direct assistance to access services in their local communities.


In North Macedonia, the National Roma Centrum met with 50 representatives of local institutions that provide services to victims of violence to inform them of the right of Roma victims to receive essential services and of the free legal aid service available for Roma women and girls who are victims of violence and discrimination.


In Montenegro, videos featuring the real-life stories of six Roma and Egyptian women who were victims of child arranged marriages were broadcasted on local TV stations and radio stations to raise awareness on the consequences of early and forced marriage.


In Kosovo, an awareness-raising door-to-door campaign conducted by the Network of Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian Women Organizations of Kosovo (NRAEWOK) engaged more than 200 Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian community members in discussions about the issue of early marriages. Additionally, in September 2018, through their participation in the presentation of the report “Capacity and Knowledge Assessment with Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian CSOs in the area of Early Marriages and Laws” by NRAEWOK, local and central level institutions, such as the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Justice, are better informed on the issue of early marriages within ethnic minority communities and the recommended actions to prevent them.

In addition, more than 70 key service providers from Northern Kosovo – including representatives of CSOs from Serbian communities and members of local Coordination Mechanisms for Protection Against Domestic Violence in the sectors of health, law enforcement, justice, education, and social services – now have the knowledge and capacity to implement the standards outlined in the Istanbul Convention and other international and national legislation through their participation in capacity-building trainings organized by NGO ACTIV.


In Serbia, the “Report on the experiences of women with disabilities in gender-based and domestic violence” produced by partner …iz kruga Vojvodina revealed shocking levels of violence against women with disabilities. The report served as the basis for developing recommendations to improve support services for women with disabilities, which were presented to the relevant institutions in the city of Novi Sad. Examples of good practices of institutions in providing services to women with disabilities were identified through mapping and analyzing services for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence who are women with disabilities by …iz kruga Vojvodina. The selected good practices will be replicated in five municipalities in the province of Vojvodina through a mentoring programme tailored to the needs of each municipality.


Furthermore, over 70 rural women and women with disabilities from Central Serbia raised their knowledge and skills on the provision of specialized services to women victims of violence from marginalized groups through 6 workshops organized by Association Sandglass.


Finally, the capacities of the members of Roma Women Network (RWN) were increased through a series of targeted meetings led by CSO Women Space in response to challenges identified in a capacity assessment survey. Through trainings held by RWN, 15 representatives of Roma women’s organizations increased their ability to collect data according to uniform methodological standards in order to report on Roma women’s human rights violations to the CEDAW Committee and GREVIO.

In Turkey, over 30 representatives of media outlets are better informed on rights-based journalism and how to avoid using discriminatory language against refugee women in media reports through workshops organized by Women’s Studies Association. These workshops increased media members’ awareness of the power and impact of local media in contributing to bias and prejudice against refugees and refugee women. Through capacity building workshops held by Foundation for Women’s Solidarity, 45 women’s CSOs working in the field of EVAW and 45 local actors working in the field of refugee rights, including representatives from government ministries, have increased their knowledge on the rights of refugee women, their legal status in Turkey, and their specific needs.

In addition, more than 1,200 Syrian refugee women are better informed of their rights in the areas of marriage and divorce, VAW, sexual crimes, available justice services and access to these services through their participation in over 150 peer-to-peer meetings initiated by Turkish NGO Support to Life. As part of this initiative, Support to Life produced the report “Awareness-raising among Refugee and Migrant Women on How to Access Justice Services.” 

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This report summarizes lessons learned and best practices on awareness-raising initiatives on how to access justice services among refugee and migrant women in Turkey. The report is available in Arabic, English and Turkey. Read the report here.