BIDs Belgium’s Founder Rozina Spinnoy initiated an open source project initiative and awareness campaign, on ‘Empowering Women & Public Spaces.’ Starting in early February 2021, with other active women passionate about this topic. Diana Trang, Laska Nenova, Kulsoom Hazara supported and joined this welcomed initiative. The project is gives a strong message of the ‘Stop Gender Violence’ that has been promoted by many organisations, including UN Women. The project also connects to organisatios that help create awareness in the public realm. As well as the importance of highlighting women’s organisations and networks that help victims of gender violence and work on preventative educational measures.
Reaching out to organisations, networks, along with other advocates in Sports, Place-making and Urbanism. The first campaign started by 4 females, who connected from Belgium, Canada, Bulgaria and Pakistan. Below is information shared on the FB Group by ‘Empowering Women & Public Spaces’ project.
Connecting with female sports athletes, who either advocate, practice or teach self-defence and advocate for safer, more inclusive public spaces. Wishing to all share and connect with creating further awareness. Here is some information shared with our fellow initiators and supporters on these women. Hoping more will join as the project develops:
WHAT IS IT?
Empowering Women & Public Spaces is a collective initiative to create, share, and exchange on creating more awareness around gender violence with supporting organisations and networks. Focussing on empowering diverse women/girls and communities as a whole. With promoting the learning of self-defence and advocating for safer and more inclusive public spaces. Creating awareness around the need for Regions, Cities, Towns, Villages and those involved in the urban planning/design/policy/placemaking to ‘design’ safer and and resilient public spaces for all.
A ‘Call to Action’ first campaign is shared encouraging women to connect to their local sports centres and authorities, requesting to know what measures they can take and what measures authorities can put in place to create safer public spaces. In order to keep the dialogue going.
The campaign initiators ‘in action’.
The below gives an outline on the UN Women descriptive on gender violence. As well as recommendations to community on what safer pubic spaces should incorporate and what women / community can do together to learn self-defence and create awareness.
WHY IS THIS NECESSARY?
All over the world women experience some form of gender violence. By gender violence we mean, verbal, physical and harassment. It can take place in any environment, in the workplace, domestic, street level and public spaces. Most women can share an experience of having some form of harassment and violence. There are many organisations that support those who have experienced some form of gender violence across all communicates, including LGBT and BAME communities.
WHO ARE THE INITIATORS?
This initiative started when few diverse women and their organisations came together to share their networks, along with many partner/supporting organisations to start the open-source collective knowledge sharing and exchange. Connecting on a shared passion of advocating for safety public spaces for women & all and promoting the practice of self-defence and martial arts in all spaces. These women are:
Rozina Spinnoy, Scottish-living in Belgium. A Design Strategist & Social Entrepreneur. Continually advocating for ‘Designing Inclusive Communities’ with her work across variety of networks, NGO BIDs Belgium, W100 and as a Leader in Placemaking Europe, Academician for Academy of Urbanism and a variety of Advisory Boards. A former Scottish Karate Champion 1997.
Laska Nenova is based in Bulgaria. Owner and Operator at Wow Gym in Bulgaria, Board Member Placemaking Europe, NowWeMove Campaign Manager at International Sport and Culture Association.
Diana Trang is based in Canada. . Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) Black Belt, Social Entrepreneur & Owner at Satori Wellness Studio. Diana is one of the pioneers of BJJ in Alberta, for Women’s BJJ in Alberta, th first/sole female Black Belts in her academy. Diana is also an active advocate in the trauma community. Her initiatives and Self Defense seminars have reached and assisted adults and youth across North America, an initiative that she’s continued online during Covid-19 period. Diana is a FJJRio State Medalist, 2 x Alberta Provincial Champion and 2 x Alberta Provincial Champion and 2 x IBJJF World Masters Championship Medalist.
Kulsoom Hazara is based in Pakistan. Supporting this campaign when approached, Kulsoom is the South Asian Karate Champion from 2016 in amongst many accolades representing her country, Pakistan and regional Karate Championships. She was also awarded ‘Icon of the Nation’ in her country.
HOW CAN WE RAISE AWARENESS?
– Promoting organisation’s, that can help provide trainings for women. Such as sports centres, clubs and women’s networks, including specialising organization in gender violence, etc.
– Connection to local authorities, networks working across Public Spaces, Urban Design and Planning, for awareness and partnerships on creating safer, including public space for all (where applicable).
– Linking with advocates and ambassadors for more inclusive and safer public spaces, working across a variety of sectors.
– Linking with and promoting female sports women and supporting organisations teaching self-defence on and off-line.
– Initiatives throughout various Regions, across various Countries, throughout the year including Women’s International Day.
GLOBAL & LOCAL SUPPORTERS
Many organisations have been contacted to support this public awareness project & initiative, to help us further co-design, share, connect, support through awareness, advice and recommendations.
Below is a list of a some of the networks and organisations who joined us over the last days – please click on the link to find out more about what they do:
Recent article by Rozina Spinnoy for the Brussels Times: https://www.brusselstimes.com/opinion/153093/empowering-public-spaces-women/
Article on Kulsoom Hazara : https://images.dawn.com/news/1184270
If you would like to know more and would like us to send you the first awareness campaign – Please contact rsp@bids-belgium