Malpuri Groth: ”When Power Moves in, Women are Forced out”

Den 6-7 mars samlas regeringar, experter och kvinnoorganisationer i New York för att delta i kvinnokommissionen, CSW, som är FN:s årliga möte om kvinnors och flickors rättigheter. Temat för årets möte är innovation, teknisk utveckling och utbildning i en digital värld. Sveriges Kvinnoorganisationers kanslichef Malpuri Groth ingår i EU:s officiella delegation till CSW och inbjöds att tala på EU-kommissionens vice ordförande Věra Jourovás möte för civilsamhällets organisationer. Ta del av hennes tal nedan. 

”When Power Moves in, Women are Forces out”

Thank you for the floor. My name is Malpuri Groth and I am the Director of the Swedish Women’s Lobby. We are the umbrella organization for women’s movement in Sweden, collecting 130 000 women’s and girls, we are also the national coordination of the European Women’s Lobby bringing together over 2000 women’s organizations all over Europe.

Throughout history the women’s movement has often been in the frontline of revolutions and shifting paradigms. But women have also taken the largest hits in economical, natural, or human disasters. In the Covid pandemic, in war, in natural disasters, in inequal economic societies, in economic crises.

For decades women’s rights have progressed, slowly, but still developing in the right direction, although now we see, in Sweden, in Europe and globally that women’s rights are no longer progressing but standing still or evening going backwards.

We see neoliberal and conservative movements attacking women’s rights simultaneously from different angels removing women’s agency and dignity.

Not many know that a few woman were also leeding the technological revolution. The first OG programmer was a woman. But since then women has been put aside, forgotten and abused in this digital revolution.

When power moves in, women are forced out.

If we for want to change current inequalities between women and men and end the patriarchal era the technological revolution needs to be for women by women.  Only then will today’s and tomorrow’s technological innovations benefit the global civilization.

Currently, where we are at now, this is not the case, let me give you some examples:

States are obligated to undertake all necessary measures to combat and prevent male violence against women, whilst also supporting and protecting victims of violence, online, offline. But in Sweden and many other countries legislation and society cannot keep up with the digital development.

There is a fast-growing industry taking advantage of women and girls – advertising and selling their bodies in prostitution and pornography.  A generation of young men are introduced to pornography at the age of 11 learning to get turned on by violence and degradation.

We also see a shift in attitudes towards gender equality. Young men are less interested in achieving gender equal societies than their grandfathers – than their grandfathers

Sweden and a growing number of  countries are fighting human trafficking for sexual proposes with the Equality Model – a progressive legislation that protects women in prostitution while simultaneously criminalizing the purchase of sex and pumping. But we cannot tackle a global industry that exploits women and girls, facilitated by online giants, on our own.

We need other countries to tackle demand together with us – because that is the only proven way to combat this widespread form of violence against women and girls.

The European Union have a window opportunity to protect all women and girls from all forms a violence though the upcoming directive on Violence against women.

Online threats and violence is another growing online activity that make women leaders leave political appointments or are hesitant in taking on one – this is an large threat against democracy and needs to be tackled with severe sanctions.

We need states to take responsibility and take all necessary legal actions for women and men to share unpaid work and to offer affordable care services.

We need more than a strategy or promises, alongside with investments in green transition and digitalization we need extensive investment to build an global care infrastructure

While improving pay and working conditions in paid care work more needs to be done to promote this career path to men and boys. At the same time – more women and girls should be given the opportunity to enter the workforce and especially enter the male dominated technological sectors.

We are globally leaking competence and innovative capacity having women standing on the sidewalk of our workforce.

distinguished delegates, ambassadors and excellencies –  before leaving the floor to my fellow colleagues, I want to address one more key point of discrimination of women but also a window of opportunity

When we now are going for a AI driven society we need to take a step back and ask ourselves, do we want this new era to applify inequalities between women and men or do we want it to help us faster reach gender equality?

There is a point of no return, and it is coming at as in a fast pace. Let us use this opportunity. The  European union can be the first region to invest largely in AI driven gender equality!

Thank you!