International Women's Day: IYCW Demands to Stop Gender Discrimination!

Today is 8th March, the International Women's Day. This day reminds us of the long history of the struggle for women's rights which has been carried out until today. It reminds us especially of the demand for women’s suffrage, one of the demands brought forward in several countries as this special day historically evolved into a collective, international symbol.

“I was born in an indigenous community in Guatemala and my parents had to migrate to the capital city. I had to start working at the age of 14 to put myself through school. I have worked for two years at Coransa, a textile maquila (which later changed its name to Denimatrix), in the laundry section where I have a production target of 2,500 trousers that need to be revised to ensure they have no defects. Through the continuous process of education and action of YCW Guatemala we have seen the high level of exploitation and the workers’ rights being trampled on; they have long working hours and unpaid overtime. When I first started, the company had 3,200 workers, it currently has 1,800 and the company has used mass dismissals. – Nadia (YCW Guatemala)

The challenge of the digital revolution - The IYCW at the 2016 International Conference of NGOs

The 2016 International Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in partnership with the Unesco was held from 12 to 14 December in Paris. The conference focused on the theme “The challenge of the digital revolution for NGOs” and was organized around four subthemes: “The digital revolution and its impact on the diversity of cultural expressions”; “The challenge of access to digital information”; “Does e-learning address challenges of education systems worldwide?”; and, “Science and the digital revolution: which ethical implications?” The International YCW took an active part in it and made its contribution to the debate.

The digital issue is at the very heart of social stakes, resulting in new developments, opportunities but also major challenges. Therefore, all social organizations, but also the society as a whole, will have to face it. According to the Unesco, « The digital revolution has fundamentally altered the way in which cultural goods and services are produced, distributed and accessed.  Indeed, the accelerated expansion of social networks and user generated content (UGC), the explosion of data created by cloud computing and the proliferation of connected multimedia devices – smartphones, tablets, phablets, e-readers – in the hands of the users have had a huge impact on the cultural scene, in both the global North and South. Technological changes have led to the emergence of new players and new logics»[1]. 

During the conference, the IYCW insisted on the two components of the “digital revolution.” It underlined on the one hand the opportunities it offers to our social organization, whether through communication, exchange, the capacity of mobilization, the intensification of interaction, or in terms of visibility, and on the other hand the dangers and challenges it poses, such as surveillance and the creation of monopolies. Increasingly precarious working conditions, in particular for young people, the promotion of consumerism, and most of all the negative impact on social security and social protection, including in the field of participation and financing (unpaid taxes and security of workers in companies) are dangers facing the world of work.

At the Conference, we had the opportunity to meet several friendly organizations, including representatives of the International Young Catholic Students (IYCS), the Centre Catholique International de Coopération avec l’Unesco (CCIC), and the Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO).

For more information, please visit the Unesco website.

[1] Unesco, 2015, “Diversity of Cultural Expressions in the Digital Age,”  

Young People of Flanders Speak Up and Are Ready to Act!

The National Congress of KAJ Flanders that took place last November 14-15, 2016 at the Generation Europe youth hostel was a great success. It was attended by around 35 young people coming from different regions of Flanders. The two-day congress was fun, filled with dynamic activities and debates on the reality young people and the movement are facing today.

The National Congress worked on four different themes: (1) strengthening the base groups and actions of the different regions; (2) equal opprtunities for everybody; (3) respect for life and solidarity among people; (4) decent life at work and school. These four themes are the main campaign of KAJ Flanders for the coming four years (2017-2020).

It is interesting to note that the young people have found their motivation as a base for their plan of action. One group said that the KAJ campaign is addressing their reality as young people, e.g. the divorce issue and problems at school. This campaign started a few years ago, and there is a need to continue and reach out more young people and other sectors such as young people with disability and poor families. The KAJ is everyone’s movement. One member said that the KAJ is his second home.