QUIT THE SILENCE
In partnership with: Consorzio Terzo Settore Onlus
Breaking the cycle of violence through education, employment, and empowerment. Giving women the tools to become social entrepreneurs and not just statistics.
As the world evolves at lighting speed, the challenges facing women around the globe sadly remain the same.
Poverty, hunger and homelessness are still the top issues affecting women, followed closely by violence and abuse. The proximity of these issues at the top of the list is no coincidence – they are directly related. One compounds the other.
It can often be more difficult for women to turn educational attainment into secure, lifelong employment when overt sexism still reigns. The barriers along the way are many, from discouragement and stereotyping in education to discrimination and a pay gap in employment. The percentage of women in work in Italy continues to be less than 50%, some 12.2% below the EU average, while the city and province of Naples are in the bottom three provinces.
Even when such challenges can be overcome, women face yet another obstacle: abuse. In Italy, almost a third of women suffer some form of physical or sexual violence. In Campania, this number is rising. Naples has a 13.6% rate of partner abuse making the region’s case unique in Italy.
A controlling or violent background can make staying in education or work difficult, as women’s intellectual and physical development is restricted. At risk of becoming financially and emotionally dependent on their “keepers”, violence will always prevail. Cultural expectations and societal norms present yet another hurdle, aggravated by a fragmented legal framework whereby violence may not be adequately dealt, even if reported. Without the means to escape, the only choice is to remain in the shadows.
This project puts vulnerable women back in the driving seat of their lives. By making them an integral part of a network of sustainable, social economies, we combat gender discrimination and engender a culture in which the rights of women are enshrined.
Women don’t have to live in the shadows. To safeguard themselves from abuse and reclaim their rightful place, they need to be economically independent.
The Quit the Silence project provides the means to achieve this. It offers a support network – with psychological counselling and legal advice – and a safe place – the association’s network of crisis centres – to twenty vulnerable women, where they receive training on social enterprise management and self-employment.
The ultimate goal is to set up a Joint Purchasing Group, to be run by ten women on a 12-hectare plot recovered from a criminal organisation in the town of Afragola. The beneficiaries receive advice on how to set up a legal body, write a business plan, manage an e-commerce site, and to organise, promote and distribute the farm’s and other produce.
By tapping into their talents and rebuilding their self-confidence, Quit the Silence gives them a chance to break the cycle of violence and start afresh, with a new sense of efficacy and empowerment.