Photo: NorwayUN/Marte Fløan Beisvåg.Photo: NorwayUN/Marte Fløan Beisvåg

Norwegian parliamentarians team up with Bolivia's President in football match to combat violence against women

Last updated: 9/27/2013 // On Thursday September 26th Norwegian Members of Parliament Karin Andersen and Lene Vågslid played football with the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, to raise awareness towards violence against women.

Andersen and Vågslid are in New York with four other members of the Norwegian Parliament to learn about Norway in the UN. Tuesday afternoon they got some time off from meetings and politics to go to Roosevelt Island where the match took place. It is an initiative by UNiTE, UN Women and UNDP, and is held to support Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women

Worldwide, up to 50 percent of sexual assaults are committed against young women and girls under the age of 16. More than half of the 25 countries with the highest rates of female murders (femicide) are in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to Small Arms Survey’s 2012 report. The United Nations works with governments, parliaments and civil society organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean to develop laws and implement public policies that guarantee gender equality and women’s rights. Following a UN-led initiative, the region is advancing towards the adoption of the regional Protocol for Investigating Gender-related Deaths.

Several statements were held before the match started, one of them by Herald Muños, UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. He said that “football is a global passion and a great way to win hearts and minds, conveying the message that ‘real men don’t hit’.” President Morales, eager football player and a strong activist for women’s rights, said that the match is an homage to all women of the world, “it symbolizes us kicking out inequality and violence”. His message to the audience was clear; respect women, don’t violate them.

Andersen and Vågslid, as the only females on the field, made an heroic effort. The two MPs played on separate teams; Andersen on the blue team with Morales, and Vågslid on the orange team with Muñoz. In the end the orange team emerged the stronger side with a narrow 7-6 victory over their opponents in blue.

You can read more about the Secretary General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women here.

Watch photos from the football match here.

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