Eradicating gender-based violence in universities and research centres


Manifesto of the CIC Women and Science Committee for 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

The 25th of November was declared International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women at the first Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Summit, held in Bogotá in July 1981, in memory of the violent murder of the Mirabal sisters, three political activists assassinated on 25 November 1960 by the secret police under the dictator Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. The UN reinforced the day’s official status in 1999. It is a day that still needs to be remembered because, despite progress in certain aspects of male violence against women, such as identifying it, raising its visibility and reporting it, we must continue to highlight the persistent resistance to its eradication, the shocking figures on the issue and because such violence is a violation of human rights.

The current legal framework is increasingly driving towards effective equality by implementing measures to eradicate gender-based violence. Royal decrees and laws passed in the last two years have introduced commitments for society in general and specific obligations for universities. Law 17/2020 extended its mandate to universities, with a firm commitment to eliminating gender-based violence. For instance, it urges us to include specific content on gender-based violence in proposals for curricula, eliminate sexist and discriminatory texts, provide adequate training in the gender perspective, avoid revictimisation in procedures and informative and disciplinary proceedings arising from applying the protocols, and to provide equality units with the necessary resources to satisfactorily carry out their tasks. The University Coexistence Act should also help us protect the university community from violence, discrimination and harassment, by looking at the causes of violence and its risk factors, thus preventing and eradicating violence against women, and by implementing psychological and legal support measures for victims.

The Catalan Government has also expressed its willingness to guarantee women’s right to the structural eradication of male violence against women, adopting a comprehensive approach in the Government Plan. The creation of the Ministry of Equality and Feminisms in 2021 makes explicit this commitment and the need for organisations to lead joint strategies to fight gender-based violence, as expressed in the recent assessment conducted by Ivàlua. A further commitment is the approval of the Framework Protocol for Intervention with Due Diligence in Situations of Gender Violence, recently approved by the National Committee for Coordinated Intervention against Gender Violence.

As generators and transmitters of knowledge and values, universities and research centres must become leading institutions in terms of equality and commitment to eliminating all violence against women. However, the university and research world is not free of structural patriarchal dynamics and the gender-based violence stemming from them. Reversing this requires the joint involvement of everyone in all areas of authority. Thus, the Inter-university Council of Catalonia (CIC) Women and Science Committee is coordinating work to improve the efficiency of protocols against sexual and gender-based harassment in all Catalan universities. In recent years, universities and research centres have developed projects with funds from the State Pact Against Gender-based Violence and the CIC has launched the Teaching Innovation in Gender Violence (INDOVIG) grants, using both the state and its own funds.

Catalonia’s universities and research centres also have a social responsibility to the past, present and future, requiring an urgent feminist commitment to comprehensive transformation with a gender perspective here and elsewhere. Consequently, this year, with special emphasis on commemorating 25 November, we denounce the rise in cyber-bullying and digital violence against women, cases of chemical submission and feminicides of all kinds, including the invisible ones of environmental activists, and we ratify the statement published by the CIC on the murder of the Mahsa Amini in Iran, where, beyond mourning, the women’s revolution continues.


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