The Malta Independent 22 March 2018, Thursday

Watch: Yes means yes, no means no - The Women’s Day March

Thursday, 8 March 2018, 20:33 Last update: about 13 days ago

"Yes means yes, no means no" was the message that the activists were chanting during the Women's Day March. The message during this event was - Raise Your Voice Against Violence on Women - and was organised by a number of NGOs on International Women's Day.

What started as a few dispersed people at City Gate Valletta, quickly became a conspicuous crowd of chanting activists yelling, "Yes means yes, no means no". The march was held in solidarity with many other marches happening elsewhere in the world, highlighting gender-based violence and sexism.

Women from different walks of life that spoke to us stressed the importance of activism. The crowd offered a diverse spectrum of characters, most of whom were embracing one another, holding placards and dancing together.

The crowd culminated near the law courts where NGO representatives made their speeches. Maria Pisani from Integra Foundation said, "there is much more to do. Let us fight the fight because we will not be blamed, we will not be tamed."

Andrea Dibben from the Women's Rights Foundation in her speech highlighted the fact that, "women in Malta have yet to be equal to men and that something must be done about the current gender wage gap."

In Europe, 1 in 3 women experience physical and/or sexual violence by a current or previous partner. In Malta, 15 women have been killed by partners or ex-partners in the last 10 years. This is why we cannot celebrate International Women's Day, but rather, we see the need to speak up, keep fighting, and build new solidarity networks with all women, individuals, and organisations that refuse to tolerate abuse against women.

Moviment Graffiti said that,  "one should note current efforts to strengthen Maltese legislation protecting victims of gender-based violence, as well as the educational campaigns being held to pave the way for a generation of people that understand that violence against women is unacceptable. However, there is an underlying culture of misogyny, which works through all of us: our institutions, our culture, which must be broken if we are to move forward."

Graffiti said that, "We must also highlight the difficulties that Maltese women face as mothers and workers. In a society where rent and property prices have soared, together with low wages and the high cost of living, single mothers and women with abusive partners find it harder to build an independent living. Specific difficulties are also faced by trans women, as well as migrant women, who often lead precarious lives with heavy financial burdens apart from the risk of violence and abuse."

This initiative has been organised by Moviment Graffitti, Gender Equality Malta, Men Against Violence, Women's Rights Foundation, and Integra Foundation, and is supported and endorsed by the Department of Gender Studies, Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM), Aditus Foundation, Żminijietna - Voice of the Left, Gay-Straight Alliance MCAST (GSAM), the Association for Equality (A4E), Dar Merħba Bik, GWU Youths and SOAR Malta. 

Photos and Video by James Caruana

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