Find here all the blogs written by Serap Altinisik, Head of the EU Office and EU Representative of Plan International
A global EU without feminism at its core is set to fail us
The EU is still rightfully seen as a global gender equality champion and, although it is not an easy task, feminism should be at the heart of its foreign policy agenda, writes Serap Altinisik.
Girls don’t want us to build back. They want us to build better.
Inclusive, safe and quality education is an integral part of human development and the path to a better life for many children, especially girls. The pandemic is teaching us many lessons for every aspect of our lives. The question is, will we listen and act?
Online harassment is silencing girls: the EU and its Member States can do more and better
A blog by Serap Altinisik Last Friday, the 20th November, was the 31st anniversary of a true milestone for children’s rights - the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We definitely have progressed to celebrate over those 31 years, but we also still have a way to go to achieve the fulfilment of all rights for all children, especially girls. Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and I would like to highlight a particular challenge that especially girls and young women face these days: harassment and abuse online. Plan International recently published its report “Free to be online – Girls' and young women’s experiences of online harassment”, which is staggering.
Jacqui and Serap call on all female activists to support one another and rise up, together we are stronger!
Jacqui, a youth activist from Tanzania who is fighting to ban child marriage in her home country, and Serap Altinisik, a lifelong feminist and Head of Office and EU Representative at Plan International EU Office, met during Serap’s country visit to Tanzania. Ahead of the International Day of the Girl, these two feminist activists are coming together again to share their mutual passion for girls’ rights and to share their thoughts on activism, their motivation, and the challenging journey they have faced in the fight for equality in a world where people don’t necessarily believe in the power of girls and women.
Welcome back! Ready, set, stop the setback for girls’ equality
A blog by Serap Altinisik on what the EU can do for girls It’s that time of the year again: La Rentrée. But this year it looks rather different. This year we are returning to school and our workplaces masked and 2m apart. Despite interrupted holiday plans, I am returning to work (virtually) re-energised and with renewed motivation. I am ready to push harder and be bolder than ever over the coming months to try prevent the undoing of decades of progress in girls’ equality due to COVID-19. COVID-19 has laid bare the inequalities entrenched in our system, a system that fails to protect the most marginalised and that collapses when crisis hits. A system in which girls and adolescent girls are disproportionately exposed to risk, and were hit the hardest by COVID-19. Interrupted education and lack of protection systems mean they take on household tasks and caring roles; they risk early, child and forced marriage; and they face abuse and violence, including female genital mutilation. But despite all this, I have heard many great stories on how girls and young women have raised their voices all over the world to lead their communities through the crisis.
Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Voices from the Sahel
Blog by Serap Altinisik, Head of Office, Plan International EU Office, and Dr. Fatoumata Haidara, Director for the Sahel Region, Plan International. ‘I come from Timbuktu, but my family is now in Mopti, one of the areas most affected by the Sahel crisis. During all my life, I have seen girls and women in the Sahel, particularly in Mali, suffered gender inequalities that limited their protection and education. However, in these last eight years working in the Sahel region, I have observed with suffering how a complex and armed crisis forces families to separate, to flee, to abandon their livelihoods. I see how girls suffer the fear of the armed groups, child marriage and dropping out the school. Finally, in the last three months, I have also seen how all humanitarian efforts to protect these girls are even more at risk due to COVID-19 and its consequences.’ - Dr. Fatoumata Haidara, Sahel Director Plan International.
What will it take to unlock girls’ potential to speak out?
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and at the start of the 16 days of activism, Serap Altinisik, Head of Office and EU Representative of Plan International and Salomé Guibreteau, Policy and Advocacy Officer, reflect on EU actions for girls’ and young women’s agency.
What about that Feminist Europe?
In less than a week the European citizens will have casted their vote and chosen the new direction of the European Union. Different debates have shown which way the common candidates want the EU to go and what was notable when they so gently crossed swords, is that almost all of them seemed rather serious about realising gender equality, one way or another. Tackling the gender pay gap or fighting gender-based violence slipped into the different talks and manifestos. Sadly enough it usually stayed with a summary of quick fixes.
We won’t stop until every girl is equally seen, heard and valued
Because it is the International Day of the Girl in exactly four weeks from now, we are returning, this year digitally, with our Girls’ Rights Gazette. As of 2012 this publication is bringing girls’ voices to the fore: their stories, their realities and their views on the current state of girls’ rights in the world today. This year’s gazette will include stories by our young activists and advocates who will be joining our Global Girls’ Summit in Brussels on 10th October. They will give insight into their commitment to gender equality and girls’ rights and the different initiatives they are carrying out in their respective countries and regions. You will be able to see how the different Plan International projects work together with girls and young women, to make their cities safer, to ensure education in emergency settings and to become champions of change. There will be photos in each issue of the Gazette taken by the youth involved in the BruxELLES project capturing sexual harassment in public spaces in Brussels. As in past editions, EU leaders and influencers will share their visions on how, in their respective roles, they try to put girls at the forefront of EU external policies and actions. And how they play their part in making sure that every girl can learn, lead, decide and thrive.
European Development Days – looking back on two exciting and inspiring days
On 5th and 6th June, the International Development community came together in Tour et Taxis in Brussels for the 12th edition of the European Development Days (EDDs). This year, the European Commission aimed to bring together the EU's commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is a matter close to Plan International’s heart, given our ambition to ensure that 100 million girls will be able to learn, lead, decide and thrive by 2022. During these two days, colleagues from across Plan International were involved in a wide range of activities and presented alternatives as to how the EU can stop the global rollback of girls' rights.