Brussels rally demands action on women's rights

17th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

17 October 2005, BRUSSELS – Leading rights activists in Belgium used World Women's Day on Monday to call for more to be done to tackle violence and poverty against women.

17 October 2005

BRUSSELS – Leading rights activists in Belgium used World Women's Day on Monday to call for more to be done to tackle violence and poverty against women.

Police said more than 2,500 women and men marched through the streets of Brussels on Sunday to mark Women's Day, which is celebrated worldwide.

For their part, the organisers said as many as 5,000 people turned out for the demonstration which was peaceful and took place in a carnival atmosphere to the sound of music and drumming.

Women's groups such as Vie feminine and human rights groups such as Amnesty International backed the march, as well as unionists and the Francophone and Flemish Women's Councils of Belgium, which is celebrating its hundredth anniversary this year.

The marchers set off at 3pm at Mont des Arts and finished back there at 5.30pm.

High profile women told the crowd progress had been made on women's rights but women were still a long way off from equality.

Belgium's senate head, Anne-Marie Lizin, who used to be the president of the Women's Council of Belgium, said: "Unfortunately, at the level of the United Nations, we aren't seeing any more progress on conditions for women.

"Some religions don't recognise the rights of women." Lizin argued for women's groups to be given more support at a grass roots level.

The current president of the Francophone Women's Council in Belgium, Magdeleine Williame-Boone, said it was still a problem in Belgium that abused women would not testify in court against men who attacked them. Seven women are raped every day in Belgium, she added.

In terms of women in the workplace, Brigitte Wagner, head of the women's section of the Christian union CSC, stated: "For the last 20 years, we've been demanding equal salaries. There have certainly been improvements, but not enough.

"The non-trade sector, where the majority of women work, is poorly paid. The result, since the men bring home more money, is that it's always the women that stay at home."

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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