Posts Tagged ‘minority groups’

Women’s organisations to demonstrate against DPP’s plan for greater gender inequality

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

By Michael de Laine, Copenhagen, 7th March 2010

At the approach of International Women’s Day (IWD) tomorrow, 8 March, Danish women’s groups are planning a demonstration against proposals by the Danish People’s Party (DPP) to increase gender inequality and return women to the kitchens.

Proposals by the Danish People’s Party to increase inequality between women and men, “return women to the kitchens”, downplay support of elderly citizens and ban employees in the public sector from wearing scarves have triggered plans for a demonstration by women’s groups next weekend.

“Prohibiting women from wearing scarves in their public sector jobs is not only deeply unsympathetic and discriminating it is also extremely stupid,” says Hakima Lasham Lakhrissi one of the people behind the planned demonstration.

Hakima chairs the Association of Danish International Women (FDIK) and is a member of the board of the Ethnic Minority Women’s Council (EMKR).

“There are so many different reasons why women wear scarves,” says Hakima, who does not wear the type of headscarf associated with women from ethnic minorities. “For some wearing headscarves is a religious act, for others it is simply a tradition – just as it was for ethnic Danish women a generation or two ago. But why should wearing a scarf disqualify these women from contributing to the Danish society that they see themselves being a part of?”

Noting that 8 March is International Women’s Day (IWD), Hakima says, “A lot of work has gone into getting these women on to the labour market – and this is starting to become successful. There is a real need for these women, who to a large extent care for the elderly. And now DPP is trying to destroy all this good work. DPP is damaging the efforts towards women’s equality and the proposals are detrimental to the many elderly who need their care. And what DPP wants is not least deleterious to integration.”

The demonstration will starts at Rådhuspladsen, Copenhagen city hall, on Saturday, 13 March, at 2.00 p.m. and will last an hour.

New organisation to be a platform for ethnic minority women

Friday, February 19th, 2010

By Michael de Laine, Copenhagen, 19th February 2010

A new organisation, EMKR, will work for direct influence for ethnic minority women in Denmark, and it aims at being a platform promoting the political agenda of these women in Danish society. As well as “creating a new and realistic picture of ethnic minority women”, EMKR will work with other organisations that focus on the status of women in Denmark – and will also speak for men and children in ethnic minorities.

The Ethnic Minority Women’s Council (Etniske Minoritets Kvinders Råd, EMKR), set up last September, wants to speak the case of not only women from ethnic minorities living in Denmark, but also of their men and children.

EMKR will collaborate with and support other organisations related to the status of women in Denmark, but its focus will be on women from the ethnic minorities because, in the words of Trésor Kankindi, EMKR’s chair, these women “are one of the most discussed groups in Denmark – but never by themselves.”

According to Trésor Kankindi, who came from Burundi and has lived in Denmark for nine years, “EMKR wants to change that. We want to show ethnic Danes that immigrant women are just as diverse as everyone else. And we want to qualify the many perceptions that exist.”

In a press release issued in connection with a meeting presenting the board of the new organisation, EMKR’s treasurer, Annam Al-Hayali, said, “Women with a minority background are over-represented in many social areas in Denmark, including health and poverty. It’s important that we get problems like these on the political agenda without the focus being on our religion or culture.” Annam Al-Hayali, who came to Denmark from Iraq in 1996, is the co-ordinator of EMKR’s social committee.

Getting the problems discussed on a correct basis means there is a need for information, and EMKR has set up an information committee with Hakima Lasham Lakhrissi at the helm.

“Many people talk about us on the background of public feeling,” she said. “But we must have a proper factual basis if we are to make a difference and bring the problems into the light. The burka debate is just the most recent example of a distorted debate.”

Hakima Lasham Lakhrissi, who emigrated from Morocco to Denmark in 1991, added, “We have a lot to offer, and we’d like that to have a clearer role in the debate.”

EMKR also has a communications committee that will be pro-active towards the media.

“Instead of waiting for the media to present a truer and varied picture of women from ethnic minorities, we aim at writing the agenda ourselves,” said Alma Bekturganova Andersen, who trained as a journalist in Kazakhstan and now lives in Denmark.