The Alliance of Women in Slovakia is a citizens´ movement. We have begun in January 1993 as an initiative of a small group of women who had already been actively engaged in public life. These women gave rise to a network of women across the whole of Slovakia who felt a need to provide and to obtain information and experience about life in other communities, and were committed to actively support the development of civic awareness and civic culture in their own community.
We started with a quantitative sociological survey mapping the situation of women in Slovakia (the first survey of its kind time not only in Slovakia, but also in other CEE countries). This was done by the Centre for Social Analysis FOCUS using 600 questions with a representative sample of 1 100 respondents. The results were published under the title SHE AND HE IN SLOVAKIA as a part of the Alliance PHARE project. (FOCUS, Zora Bútorová et al., 1995, 1996) We were quite surprised by the success of this publication. It has been referenced many times in various newspapers and magazines. It seems no serious work is possible on women’s issues in Slovakia without quotations from this book. We also managed to secure grants to translate it into English and also make this publication available to foreign experts. The publication was given to all members of the Alliance of Women in Slovakia and to representatives of various civil groups, parliamentary committees, decision making personalities and persons interested in women’s issues as well as being distributed to about 200 libraries.
We have also published the following brochures:
Women in NGOs, information about the situation of women and their motivation for work in the non – governmental sector, and
Women for a Healthy Planet, a WEDO Slovak version of a small guide for citizens to raise their awareness in public life.
We organised a conference on WOMEN NGOs in Bratislava in June 1997. This marked the first meeting ever and due to its great success it has now become a tradition. The conference will run this year for the third time. In 1995 we were the only organisation to translate Platform of Action which was then given to participants of the Women NGOs Conference. There have been no activities on the Platform of Action or any other results of the Beijing 95 World Conference since!
The Alliance has also contributed to the creation of the international KARAT Coalition of Women NGOs in the CEEC which was established in Poland 1997 and has since held its first meeting since in Bratislava in April 1998. In October 1998 the second meeting was held in Prague with further meetings held in Bucharest and Sofia. After the June 2000 New York GA “Beijing +5” where Karat Coalition already represented the CEE Region, we have established a status and formal rules of membership. These were accepted by the General Assembly in St. Petersburg, July 2001 and also Katarína Farkašová the Alliance of Women´s director was elected as a Board member.
We have prepared a shadow report (to the official Slovak Government Report) for the CEDAW Committee to the UNO ( Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women ) on the situation of women in Slovakia.
In 1998 we have launched activities to stop domestic violence (there was not even a reference term for domestic violence in legislation in Slovakia). In order to change the situation of the constant lack of law experts on women’s issues, the Alliance has established a program of training for women lawyers called AdvoCats, together with ProFem – Prague and Amnesty for Women –
Hamburg. Together with the citizens association Open People, we were active in response to the floods in Romany villages in the East of Slovakia in the summer of 1998. We have also co – operated in writing a chapter on women issues in the Global report on Slovakia, IVO 1999.
In March 1999 the Alliance of Slovak Women became an advisory body to the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights and Minorities. We have prepared an International Conference on Trafficking in Women (with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung) and further seminar for Police representatives from the whole Slovakia. We also worked out analysis: according to CEDAW, an analysis of domestic violence, on trafficking in women (Boltzmann Institut) and others.Together with Remedium – Prague we have also organised a programme training for women working on such telephone lines ()
In partnership with Dr. Eva Sopková – Pro Familia and organisations Fenestra and Aspekt we have prepared a brochure on Street Law and Violence against women for ABA/CEELI and we prepared 4 brochures together with the Judges´s Association. We have organised the 16 days campaign against violence against women ®the 5th woman ¬ together with 6 other NGOs (November – December 2001) and are already working on the next campaign for the 2002.
We have launched an SOS telephone line 0903 519 550 for women in crisis situations with a special focus on legal advice.
Bringing together a team of legislation experts we had prepared amendments of laws against domestic violence (spring – autumn 2001) which were passed by the Parliament on June 19, 2002 as a part of the governmental proposal. Immediately after this we met at a seminar with police representatives of all regions of Slovakia and informed them about the changes and discussed their feed back and further needs. In 2004 we started a project with La Strada Prague and La Strada Warsaw in order to establish finally service and assistance for trafficked women and to raise public awareness in Slovakia (after a short campaigne of IOM last year).
We prepared a series of pilot educational participative seminars on domestic violence tailored for police, advocates, judges, doctors, social workers, and other professions dealing with the issue of domestic violence in order to bring them afterwards to a round table to discuss a creation of mutual manuals for all their colleagues. Currently we are condicting a series of training in raising awareness of women according to their professions – such as judges, members of parliament, high ranking political party members and others.
The work of the Alliance of Women in Slovakia has only been made possible through the support of: PHARE, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, The Netherlands Royal Embassy, Open Society Fund, Heinrich Boll Stiftung, European Commission, the Ford Foundation and Foundation Ekopolis and ETP – Slovakia, The Canadian Embassy.