End Gender Discrimination Now! Winners announced

The winners of the highly-contested Gender Discrimination Now! competition have been announced. Coalition-building and creativity were key to the winning strategies in the contest which was organised by four partners: Gender at Work, the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), BRIDGE, and the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) Argentina. Three first prize winners and six runners-up were selected from more than 250 submissions from 63 countries.

Entrants were invited to share their experiences and stories for challenging gender discrimination and making change happen – what worked and what didn't. Winners were selected in three categories:

Kuña Pyrenda - Una Apuesta Politica (Paraguay), won in the Gen-Change category, which recognizes strategies to fight gender discrimination in organizations and communities. Kuña Pyrenda challenged the political system in Paraguay, forming the first-ever women’s political movement in the country, based on socialist feminist principles and shared leadership. They contested in the 2013 elections, extending their effort to 12 provinces. While they did not win any seats in this first attempt, they are determined to grow their movement for future elections.

Freedom Traveller (Pakistan) won in the Gen-novation category, which sought innovative strategies that were in an incubation period. Momal Mushtaq from Pakistan received the award for her proposal to launch a travel service supporting women in countries that limit their mobility. In its first three months of piloting their idea, Freedom Traveler invited women to share their photos to support freedom of movement for women and received 150+ photos from 40 countries. The growing e-catalog can be found at the Freedom Traveller website.

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) submitted Aiyoh-Wat Lah (Malaysia) which won the GenTruth award, for courage in shedding light on new or growing forms of gender discrimination. JAG, a coalition of seven Malaysian human rights organizations, acts to raise awareness on sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and/or transphobia, and to encourage higher standards of behaviour from public figures and institutions in relation to gender and sexuality. A video of the spoof ceremony, which recognised sexist, misogynistic, homophobic and/or transphobic statements or actions as reported by the media, can be found here on YouTube.

Six additional organizations were selected for honorable mentions, for providing inspiring examples of the multiple pathways to challenge gender discrimination.

From Argentina, One-Stop Shops for Gender Equality (Centro Integral de Género) were created by the Airport Security Forces. They provide comprehensive services to individuals who experience workplace or family violence, and support security forces to offer equal opportunities and end discrimination in the workplace across the gender spectrum.

From Armenia, Theater for Change – an interactive theater group – and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) produced Lawsuit over Stolen Rainbow. This won for creating a public performance that toured the country, reaching over 3,000 young people with a creative way of joining efforts to end gender discrimination and gender-based violence. Their provides a glimpse of the project.

From Colombia, La Experiencia de las Casas de Igualdad is an innovative initiative from the Women’s Rights Office in Bogotá, Colombia. They have estabalished 20 localities throughout the city where women can come for support to transcend gender inequality in relation to different spheres of rights such as violence, political participation and equality at work, among others. Watch their video here on YouTube.

From India, Akshara catalyzed offical and citizen action to increase safety in Mumbai. Their advocacy led to the establishment of the first-ever 24-hour, city-run helpline and they are using the Cairo-based harassmap platform to track experiences and unsafe spaces. Their Harassmap is available at harassmap-mumbai.org and see their video at on YouTube.

From Palestine, Radio Nissa FM is the first commercial women’s radio station in the Arab World. As a leading radio station in Palestine, it helps women overcome traditional cultural segregation; connects them to each other; and tries to change the perception of women’s role in their society.

From South Africa, Hospersa is a 68,000-member trade union that has taken steps to eliminate gender discrimination. Besides helping workers fight privatization and strive for full employment, they also enable them to access proper training to develop their skills; and promote safe and healthy working conditions.

Winning examples will be featured on the websites of AWID, FLACSO, BRIDGE and Gender at Work, and in Gender at Work’s upcoming publication: Making New Rules: Secrets and Stories from the House of Gender. People behind the winning submissions will also have the opportunity to travel to the next AWID Forum (2016) or a Gender at Work Collaboratory meeting.