LAUNCH OF BFWG LONDON WOMEN GRADUATES
Monday, 21st July 2014
YOUNGER WOMEN URGED TO STEP FORWARD AND CREATE A NEW VISION FOR EDUCATION
Campaigners, academics and business leaders are calling on the next generation of women in London to step forward and create a new vision for women and education.
The call came at the launch of the London Association of the BFWG at Hub Westminster on Monday (21 July 2014), where over one hundred guests gathered to hear speakers talk about how the lives of women and girls are being transformed by education, scholarships and training.
Alex Blakemore, Professor of Human Molecular Genetics at Imperial College London, said: “There are still fights to be fought and battles to be won. There is still atrocious representation of women in public life. I want to hear from young women – what is your vision?”
“We have an unparalleled opportunity to do something really important. I urge young women to come forward and tell us.”
The BFWG London Association is one of many local groups across the UK fighting to improve the lives of girls and women, particularly supporting women undertaking post graduate study or research.
Former physicist and educator and BFWG’s Immediate Past President, Jenny Morley, said: “We must engage younger members if the race to progress is to be continued. We need to keep our voices heard in the corridors of power.”
“BFWG has a unique place among women's organisations, being the only one who gives such scholarships. Let us perfect the art of friendship. But I say this not as a social aim, but as a call to action - let us perfect the art of friendship with purpose."
Newly appointed BFWG President Dr Gloria Banner, who has been a member of BFWG for nearly 40 years, said: “We have a significant challenge still on our hands - to smash the glass ceiling, triple glazed as it is. We have great strength as individuals, but we can literally work miracles as one large organisation.”
“We need to increase our membership – and that means reaching out to engage a more diverse and younger community of women."
“Each year we give away a quarter of a million pounds in scholarships, and these scholarships change the lives of women in the most powerful way."
The event was held on the eve of Girl Summit and featured keynote speaker Jasvinder Sanghera, a survivor of forced marriage and CEO of charity Karma Nirvana.
Jasvinder gave a moving account of her own story of forced marriage. She said: "I watched my sisters being taken out of schools to be married to men they had only seen in photographs. I was promised to a man from the age of eight.”
“I said 'no', I wanted to do my exams. But I was locked in a room until I agreed to marriage. I ran away to Newcastle and my mother said I could either come home and marry, or from this day I would be considered dead. I was disowned by my family.”
“I went on to set up Karma Nirvana because an education opens your mind and no child under the age of 16 should have to be contemplate marriage. My plea to you is this: Work with us, the victims need to know there is support and helplines, and they can reach out without the fear of repercussions.”
The launch showcased the work of BFWG, including how it is supporting women’s education in Afghanistan.
Cynthia Burek, Professor of GeoConservation at Chester University, and BFWG’s Co-ordinator of International Relations, said: "We were determined to help women in Afghanistan. We gave a bursary to a female student for a PhD. Why a PhD? Because a title opens doors."
Speeches were also made by; Gwenda Nicholas, President Elect of the National Council of Women, who talked about a vision for collaboration; Dr Elizabeth Poskitt, Chair of the BFWG Scholarship Fund, who talked about a vision for education; Investment professional and Asset Management CEO of the year (Global Investor) Shachi Shah who spoke on engaging the young.
Anyone interested in becoming a member of the BFWG can sign up on the Join Us page.
For more information contact:
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BFWG SUPPORTS #FREEDOM2CHOOSE CAMPAIGN ON CRIMINALISATION OF FORCED MARRIAGE
BFWG supports the Government and Freedom Charity's #Freedom2Choose campaign as the criminalisation of forced marriage comes into force on the 16th June. As many of you will already know, Aneeta Prem is our keynote speaker at our London Association launch on the 21st July which is on the eve of DFID's Girl Summit, which Aneeta is part of. The following is Freedom Charity's social media release which we urge members to follow.
Every day three British people seek help in relation to forced marriage. Many more suffer in silence.
But on June 16th this will stop. Forced Marriage will be a crime in England and Wales. This legal change will mean we will all have the #Freedom2Choose.
But do you know what this means?
The Home Secretary, Theresa May; Freedom Charity's Aneeta Prem; the Government's Forced Marriage Unit; Commander Mak Chishty, National Police lead on Forced Marriage and other leading legal and justice experts have joined together to release a short film to explain how important this landmark change is to everyone's lives.
We would like you to join us now in our twitter campaign as we start to build momentum as we head towards the 16th June when the law comes into force and when we will release this film.
So how can you be involved?
- Follow our twitter account @freedomcharity
- Tweet with hashtag #Freedom2Choose
- Take a photo of yourself with a handwritten #Freedom2Choose sign and share it on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram accounts
- RT our daily quotes and photos in the lead up to the criminalisation of forced marriage on the 16th June
BFWG Scholarships 2014
To applicants for BFWG Scholarships
We regret the shortlisting meeting has been delayed.
We shall be in touch with applicants once decisions have been made.
Friendship tour of Rwanda
BFWG speaks out on Nigerian Kidnap
"The British Federation of Women Graduates is gravely concerned at the kidnap of the young Nigerian women by a group totally opposed to education for girls and women.
A further worry is the expressed attitude that females are a commodity to be bought and sold.
The delay and apparent confusion in rescuing them is deplorable.
We urge the United Nations, HM Government and the Welsh Assembly to do all in their power to:
- prioritise and expedite their safe release,
- to bring the perpetrators to justice
- and to expunge this group from civilised society.
Jenny Morley: President of BFWG"
Aneeta Prem’s Statement on the Nigerian school girls – 8th May, 2104.
Aneeta Prem is the founder of Freedom Charity and keynote speaker at launch of the BFWG's London Association
I have been watching with horror as the news has been unfolding of the kidnap of over two hundred girls from their school in Nigeria. It is chilling how their abductors, “Boko Haram”, clearly believe that these girls have no human rights – no right to an education, no right to choose their own path in life, no right to choose who and when they marry.
THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN AND BFWG CALL FOR THE IMMEDIATE RETURN OF NIGERIAN SCHOOLGIRLS TO THEIR HOMES
Geneva, Switzerland, 7 May 2014—The International Federation of University Women (IFUW) and BFWG call for the immediate release and safe return of the over 200 school girls between 12 and 17 years old abducted from their school hostel in Chibok Borno State in Nigeria and threatened by their captors with being sold into slavery as punishment for seeking an education. IFUW and BFWG demand that the Nigerian government urgently take steps to ensure that the girls are returned to their families unharmed and can continue their education in a safe environment.
Safe access to secondary education is indispensable to the development of communities and countries. Girls should not be faced with such brutal acts of violence and under no circumstances treated as objects for political or sectarian purposes. Abduction of children is a crime and illegal under international law.
Nigeria ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) without reservations in 1985 and is bound to incorporate its provisions in domestic legislation. It is therefore incumbent on the Nigerian government to fulfil all obligations under international and national law and, by exercising oversight and enforcement, to ensure that such acts of violence may not be repeated.
“It is a real tragedy that these girls are being subjected to such violence. We fully support the families involved,” says Catherine A. Bell, President of IFUW. “Girls must be assured of a safe haven in education, as educating girls beyond primary school is the best way to lead a family, community and society into further development.”
The International Federation of University Women (IFUW) is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and has an international membership. Founded in 1919, IFUW is the leading girls’ and women’s global organisation run by and for women, advocating for women’s rights, equality and empowerment through access to quality education and training up to the highest levels.
IFUW is in special consultative status with ECOSOC and is an NGO maintaining official relations with UNESCO. Follow IFUW on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (@IFUWomen)