Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual assault awareness month is a campaign run by National Sexual Violence Research Center, which has been held since 2001. It is a campaign aiming to increase awareness about the causes and risk factors of sexual assault and empower individuals to take steps to prevent it in their communities. 

Sexual violence is a serious public health and human rights problem with many consequences on victim’s physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health. Whether it occurs by an intimate partner, family, during times of conflict or other, it is a deeply violating and painful experience for the survivor.

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Me, my screen and I

Online classes instead of campus life. Walks instead of parties. Financial hardship instead of a part-time job. UNYA Aalborg asked students in Denmark how the pandemic has influenced their lives.

Waking up, taking a few steps to the kitchen, breakfast. A few steps to the desk, starting the computer, online class or self-study. For many students, a typical day during the lockdown of the universities has been following similar patterns but the individual experiences are nonetheless very different. To uncover the major challenges for students during the pandemic, UNYA Aalborg carried out a small survey of students in Denmark and talked to some students. Although the results of the survey are not representative, they point to some problem areas that many students struggle with: The contact restrictions have increased the feeling of loneliness and online teaching has contributed to a decline in motivation.

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International Women’s Day: Celebrating feminine leadership during Covid-19 crisis

Women

All year round, not just on International Women’s day, women inspire us. Their every day contributions lead us forward, towards a more equal world in which our voices are heard and our opinions matter. Although women’s influence is rising and the number of women as heads of states or governments has grown slightly over the past years, we are still nowhere near to reaching gender equality. 

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Female entrepreneurs in Denmark

Gender equality and female entrepreneurship are key factors in economic development. Entrepreneurship brings many benefits for women, including organizational and leadership abilities, foster creativity and engenders empowerment. Female entrepreneurs have gradually played an important role in economic development and job creation and that is very important to realize equal opportunities in society and economics.
Suitable to the international women’s day this month, we talked to five female entrepreneurs, which are shaping Denmark’s economy. We asked these role models about their businesses, challenges and motivation. We want to spread Inspiration and Empowerment to all the women out there to be courageous and to achieve their goals.

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Which education is needed to build a sustainable future?

The event, “Which education is needed to build a sustainable future?”, that took place on the 13th of May at the International House of Northern Denmark was one for the books. The goal of the event was to challenge the current state of education and reflect on which skills, in terms of education, might be lacking in order to build a sustainable future. The two main groups involved were UNYA, Aalborg, who provided a platform for the event, and BEST. Among the participants were students, recent graduates, and professionals from all backgrounds that engaged in a workshop, which highlighted the current state of education in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals, with a particular focus on the eleventh: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. Continue reading “Which education is needed to build a sustainable future?”

The State building of East Timor: The role of the United Nations with former United Nations diplomat, Finn Reske-Nielsen.

One of the many purposes of the United Nations (UN) is to maintain world peace and security. Only a few people know that the UN temporarily governed a country, East Timor. That is why on April 1st, UNYA Aalborg welcomed Finn Reske-Nielsen to help us understand the role of the UN during the state building in East Timor. Continue reading “The State building of East Timor: The role of the United Nations with former United Nations diplomat, Finn Reske-Nielsen.”

Aalborg’s Climate Strike

The weather is a bit grey, but there is no rain in sight- that came later. It is Friday March 16th 2019, the day of the climate strike. A green plant swings back and forth as the guy wearing it on his back carries it into the crowd, dancing his way in. Most people have brought more traditional means of protest such as banners, signs and t-shirts, all decorated with climate related statements, adding to the atmosphere. ‘Act or drown!’ reads one, ‘Eat beans and not friends!’, cries another. Other messages are more subtle, but they all call for change.

“It is important [to hold climate marches and strikes] to put a face to all the children which the climate challenge will effect.” – Mathilde Christiansen

The biggest group are the young- the school children who have left their classrooms to be here today. They are, however, not alone, ‘The Grandparents Climate Action’ has also shown up. With their grey hair and canes, there is a stark contrast between the two biggest groups. There are many others in between, too, like the mothers with their strollers, nurturing tomorrow’s generation, and the students with their long beards and hemp shirts. Maybe it would have been nice to see a politician or two more, but they still have time to see the light, or do they? After the Paris agreements and climate conferences, rising sea-levels, and coming climate related humanitarian catastrophes, one might think they should have noticed by now and taken action.

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The crowd at the Climate Strike (Photo by: Jacob Blasius Thomsen)

The good news is, a whole lot of people have noticed, not only in Aalborg, but all over the world. That’s why this climate strike was not only taking place in Aalborg. Actually, the idea did not even start here, but with a little girl in Sweden. Greta Thunberg is her name, and on a Friday in August 2018, she started the first strike in the, now world-wide, climate strike movement. With the slogan ‘Skolstrejk för klimatet’, she sat in front of the Swedish parliament Riksdagen, and bit by bit, a movement of young people have grown around her. When a young girl in Sweden puts her foot down and says that now is the time for action, no more talk, it inspires us all to do better and take such measures. As a result, in Aalborg, as well as in countless other cities around the world, both young and old people chose to strike for the climate and take action.  

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UNYA Aalborg’s Chair, Daniel Nielsen, delivering a speech at the Climate Strike on the importance of taking climate action (Photo by Jacob Blasius Thomsen).

 

Without taking away from the success of Greta, we have known about climate change for longer than she has been around. For much longer than she has been around, in fact. The idea of CO 2 contributing to higher temperatures was first published in 1896 (that was 1896, not 1996). In light of this, to say it is time to take action should probably be considered an understatement.

“If established politicians, decision makers and big corporations cannot do that now, we will come and do it for them in our own way, and it is going the be the way we want it.” – Karl Felix Flyvbjerg Poulsen 

The UN also states the importance. It even has its own goal among the sustainable development goals. It’s number 13, Climate Action, symbolised with an eye where the pupil is the globe. A true symbol of the planet’s relation to people.

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Mathilde Christiansen talking about organising the Climate Strike, as well as its importance, to UNYA Aalborg’s Journalism Team (Photo by: Søren Wurtz).

This relation to people is also what drives the people of the demonstration to protest. Like Greta, it’s the people that take action that matter. One of the organizers of Aalborg’s climate strike, Mathilde Christiansen, echoes Greta Thunberg when she emphasises the importance of having the children not yet able to vote showing up for the demonstration, “It is important [to hold climate marches and strikes] to put a face to all the children which the climate challenge will effect. So, getting them on the streets and getting them engaged in the climate debate, I think that is really important because it is their future and they don’t have the opportunity to vote yet, so them being able to show their faces and then the media covering that and the politicians seeing all these young people, I think that really does something in the grand scheme”.

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Two of the organisers of the event, Karl Felix Flyvbjerg Poulsen (left) and Mathilde Christiansen (right) (Photo by: Søren Wurtz).

Karl Felix Flyvbjerg Poulsen, who also helped organize the strike, considers it quite logical that young people would show up. As he puts it, “it is mainly young people who showed up today, because we know this is about our own future. I think a main message is that the youth do care about climate change. We do want action and we do want change. If established politicians, decision makers and big corporations cannot do that now, we will come and do it for them in our own way, and it is going the be the way we want it. So, they must act now and find reasonable solutions, or we will have to take over, because there is no more time to waste”.

The elder generation from ‘The Grandparents Climate Action’ take action for their grandchildren, the parents for their children, and the school children and university students for their own future. Why do you do it?

 

Article by: Jacob Blasius Thomsen

Interviews done by: Signe Kvistborg Balle and Michaela Higgins Sørensen

Article Edited by: Michaela Higgins Sørensen

Caption Picture By: Jacob Blasius Thomsen 

Wiki-edit-a-thon: Writing Women Back into History

Most of my history lessons throughout primary and secondary school were about great men and their achievements. Later on, during my first year of anthropology at University, this trend continued as we were going through anthropological history. Classic pieces were written by men, about men.

But what about the women in history? Where are they? The quick answer? Most women have been written out of history. An issue which the Wiki-edit-a-thon event on March 8th 2019 sought to do something about – by writing women back into history, thus working for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Nr. 5, Gender Equality.

As part of International Women’s Day UNYA, in collaboration with the Zebra Partnership, held the ‘Wiki-edit-a-thon’ at the International House, Aalborg. 

“Wikipedia famously bears one of the starkest gender gaps in contemporary culture.” – New York Magazine

With tables set up providing snacks and coffee, participants of the event could, from 16.00 – 20.00, act as editors by rewriting existing articles, writing new articles and translating Wikipedia-pages into multiple languages.

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A few of the attendees present at the event helping each other out with some technicalities (Photo by: Lea Thies).

The event started out with a presentation from the organisers of the event, Lea Thies and Elias Mark, followed by a video with greetings from the founder of the initiative, The Zebra Partnership, Carol Ann Whitehead. What originally started the initiative was a Twitter conversation between the mayor as well as the Women of London. Following this, a strategy was made and a group was formed by bringing other organisations together, thus resulting in Wiki-edit-a-thons not just in Great Britain, but around the world, making partnerships and collaboration a core feature. 

Of the current 29 million pages on Wikipedia, only 17% of women are on these pages. Of the 17%, only 10% of the contributors are women, therefore leaving many women underrepresented on Wikipedia.

After the heartwarming video by Whitehead, participants were instructed in detail on how to edit the Wikipedia pages. Examples of articles on Wikipedia in need of editing are; articles using sexist/biased language, articles where women are referred to as ‘girls’ or ‘ladies’, women being defined by their relationship to men instead of their accomplishments, or the articles simply don’t exist.

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A brief guideline, included by the organisers of the event, on how to go about editing women’s articles on Wikipedia.

As we were introduced to the Wikipedia articles in need of editing, I made the mistake of pressing a button on my laptop which resulted in the page moving to the bottom of the list on the site. In order to get back to the start of the page, I, therefore, had to scroll up for what seemed like an eternity. This in itself was proof that there is still much to be done in relation to the representation of women in history.

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The attendees eating their pizza after several hours of hard work editing articles (Photo by: Lea Thies). 

Throughout the whole event, there was an atmosphere of collaboration and inclusion. As stated by Elias Mark, “Everything we do is good. A little change is great”, and  “[it] is a learning experience for all of us”, in regards to the event. Some of the participants had difficulty, myself included, with the technical side of editing. However, everyone helped each other out whenever possible.

By the end of the event, many of the participants expressed interest in continuing the work, and as expressed by Carol Ann Whitehead, “Being involved in the Wiki-edit-a-thon is not a one-off, it is like a relationship, like finding a partner. It is not just a peck on the cheek. It is a long-term relationship”. Much like my situation at the bottom of the list of Wikipedia articles to edit, there is a long way for us to collectively scroll up to achieve gender equality, and this initiative is a scroll in the right direction.

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Created by the organisers of the event, here is a step by step diagram on how to get your own Wikipedia-edit-a-thon started! Check out the ‘Women in red’ and ‘Articles in need of attention’ links below to see which articles need editing 🙂

Links to get started:

•Women in red:
•Articles in need of attention:

Article by: Liv Inuk Oldenburg Lynge

Article Edited by: Michaela Higgins Sørensen