Donor Appeal from Croatia: Support Women’s Resistance to “Handmaids’ Tale”

SOLIDARNA – Foundation for Human Rights and Solidarity is inviting you to support the protection of women's rights of freedom to choose and life without violence in Croatia - the rights which are under fierce attack by religious fundamentalist groups, marching under slogans „Stop gender ideology“ and „Stop the ratification of the Istanbul convention.“

Dear friends, colleagues and supporters,


SOLIDARNA – Foundation for Human Rights and Solidarity is inviting you to support the protection of women's rights of freedom to choose and life without violence in Croatia - the rights which are under fierce attack by religious fundamentalist groups, marching under slogans „Stop gender ideology“ and „Stop the ratification of the Istanbul convention.“ This key international legal document, adopted by the Council of Europe mandates the states to implement a wide array of measures for effective prevention, sanctioning and protection of women from gender-based violence and violence in the family. For the religious fundamentalists in Croatia, just like their peers worldwide, the Istanbul Convention is a problem precisely because it recognizes that the root cause of violence against women relates to the patriarchal notion of women as „secondary“ to men, in line with the „natural law. These groups have managed to stall the ratification of the Istanbul Convention in the Croatian Parliament, due to the public support from the Catholic Church leadership and strong lobbying within the leading political party coalition led by HDZ. In parallel, they are fiercely attacking LGBTIQ rights, blocking the progressive education reform and lobbying for the prohibition of abortion and reduction of reproductive health services.

SOLIDARNA Foundation has recognized the importance of civil resistance to the fundamentalist denial of women's human rights and gender equality already in late 2016. With the crowdfunding campaign for the Fund „Secondary Out Loud!“, we supported 16 grassroots women’s rights initiatives, including a massive Night march for reproductive and sexual rights held in Zagreb at the International Women's Day, organized by the feminist collective fActiv. Since the attacks on women's human rights and gender equality are not stopping, SOLIDARNA Foundation has decided establish the Fund „Secondary Out Loud!“ as a permanent and reliable source of financial and logistical support for all civic actions in defense of women's human rights and gender equality.

On behalf of SOLIDARNA, we are inviting you to support the Croatia citizens' resistance to religious fundamentalism, through our joint venture of filling the Fund „Secondary Out Loud!“ with much needed donations.

Currently, through the Fund „Secondary out loud!“ we are fundraising 10.000 kn (1500 EUR) to cover the costs of the highly visible protest action „Handmaids rise for ratification of the Istanbul convention“ held in Zagreb on Saturday, February 10th at noon, as part of the global action One Billion Rising where personal testimonies of violence and excerpts from the Istanbul Convention were read out loud by women survivors of domestic violence and public figures, including the Gender Equality Ombudsperson and former Prime Minister Kosor. The protest raised outstanding media interest due to its strong visual message, inspired by the TV series „Handmaid's Tale“Margaret Atwood (who herself endorsed the Zagreb protest by re-tweeting its post!) and was also reported in the French daily Liberation.

The thirty handmaids’ costumes were made for the action by women’s’ textile workers Association “Kamensko” set up after they all lost their jobs due to crony privatization. The costumes will be used in subsequent actions throughout Croatia. Once we increase the collection to at least 100 costumes, we could also share them with our sister movements in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Hungary.

Donations to the Fund „Secondary out loud!“ can be made to SOLIDARNA Foundation's bank account IBAN HR73 2390 0011 1009 4807, SWIFT: HPBZHR2X (at the Croatian Postal Bank) or on online donor platform of SOLIDARNA.

We hope you are interested in our endeavour and would be really glad to stay in touch – please contact us at info@solidarna.hr!

Thank you very much for your solidarity with all women in Croatia who will never surrender to the role of „handmaids”, „secondary“ to men!