Equality sought in Europe by Cardonald mum

March 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

p10103441A mum of three from Cardonald has returned from Europe’s political centre, Brussels, after fighting to secure a fairer deal for women across the continent.
Thirty-four-year-old Therese Kazadi came from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Scotland and found out – just like in her country of birth – women here are more likely to experience poverty than men.
Therese represents a Glasgow-based group for refugees and asylum seekers called Karibu. She was in Brussels earlier this month to take part in the GenderWorks conference.
GenderWorks was a two-year project, led by Oxfam, which investigated women’s experiences of poverty and social exclusion in Europe.
The conference brought together more than 30 women from across Europe to deliver a strong message to European policy makers.
Therese said: ‘The majority of people living in poverty around the world are women and that is no different in Europe.
‘I’ve experienced poverty in the DRC, when I came to Europe I expected that poverty would not be such a big issue. But in Glasgow women are also more likely to end up in poor conditions than men.
‘Women take on added responsibility in times of hardship. They may already work a regular job but also have to look after children and their partner.
‘The cost of childcare wipes out any money they make. Then there is the huge issue of domestic violence, which often leads to women being excluded from society or being made homeless when the relationship ends.’
Therese believes that access to information is the key to helping women out of poverty, but she also argues that public attitudes to gender issues have to change.
She said: ‘To help women out of poverty in Europe they need to be know their rights – and how to access those rights.
‘However, society must also accept and understand that women are equal to men. For example, equal pay is still not a reality in many industries.
‘When it comes to migrant women in Europe, the way they are integrated into life here almost sets them up for a life of poverty before they even start.
‘The European policy makers have to take action now and put the policy recommendations of GenderWorks into place.’