Equal, Self-determined and Free – still distant goals for the majority of girls and women worldwide.
TERRE DES FEMMES aims for a life without gender-based discrimination, violence and exploitation – in Germany and all over the world.
More specifically, this means:
- Equal: before the law, in the working world, in career and education options as well as when sharing family work
- Self-determined: when it comes to sexuality and within all life decisions like relationships, marriage, motherhood, choice of profession, and participation in public life
- Free: from role compulsions and all forms of violence
The social reality
People of female sex or gender are still restricted in their personhood– all over the world:
- In their liberty through religious and cultural norms, taboos and restrictive regulations for behaviour and clothing (for example wearing the burka)
- In their development through denied or substandard education, disadvantages in the working world and the lack of opportunities to escape poverty
- In their spirit through an education that promotes immaturity and self-debasement, as well as through the predefinition of a stereotypical image of femininity
- In their dignity through representation in the media, in advertising, and in pornography
- In their bodily integrity through the ritual of female genital mutilation (FGM), which is carried out thousands of times daily in several parts of the world
People of female sex or gender are victims of specific violence on a daily basis worldwide – in war, in the family, in the public sphere: raped, abused, enslaved in prostitution, forced to marry, murdered for the atonement of “infringed family honour” or because of the lack of a dowry. People of female sex or gender are eventually not even born but aborted systemically in many parts of the world due to a supposed inferiority.
TERRE DES FEMMES dedicates itself to the fight against all violations of human rights that girls and women have to endure worldwide because they are female. This is the basis our self-conception. “Feminism” signifies for us: The genders and sexes are entirely of an equal standing. A person is neither determined in their value through their sex/gender nor committed to a “predetermined” position in family or society through their abilities or alleged deficiencies. Sexist prejudices in the patriarchy hurt men as well as women, but they are systemically used as justification for violence against and as a tool of oppression of women.
Therefore, we reject every form of cultural relativism: misogynistic customs that are based on cultural or religious roots in minorities in our society are also intolerable. Human rights apply without limitations.
Our goals and our approach are oriented towards the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of 1979 (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform of Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, and the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence of 2011. We see ourselves as rooted in the tradition of the international feminist movement and strive towards continuous progress and solidarity.
TERRE DES FEMMES is politically independent, strictly secular, and takes an unequivocal stand for the rights of girls and women. In our work, we rely on international networking, comprehensive information, targeted actions and campaigns in the public, as well as supporting specific projects abroad. Our main topics are:
- Female genital mutilation
- Domestic and sexual violence
- Trafficking in women
- Violence in the name of honour and forced marriage
- Exploitation of female workers
What has been achieved in Germany to date:
- Recognition of rape in marriages as criminal offence (1997)
- Commencement of the protection against violence act (2002)
- Recognition of gender-specific reasons for persecution (2005)
- Implementation of the act for the combat against forced marriage and for the better protection of victims of forced marriage (2011)
- Female genital mutilation as a specific offence (2013)
TERRE DES FEMMES is a non-profit organisation and is mainly funded by membership fees and donations as well as public subsidies and grants from foundations. We handle these responsibly and sustainably.
Much has been achieved – much more still needs to be done.
Berlin, June 2014