Gender equality is not a separate woman's issue, but a condition of achieving social justice and human rights within a self-sustainable, just and developed society.

Discrimination of women and all forms of violence against women are in itself attacks on women's basic human rights quoted in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Furthermore, they deprive women of their human dignity and stop them from being fully active in social and economic development. Differences between sexes have manifested themselves throughout history as domination of men and subordination of women. Domination results from socially conditioned behaviour. It is based upon power resulting from undeserved social benefits and domination rights given to men.

We believe that a lot has to be changed and we have decided to act according to the values of non-violence, the latter being a process as well as the final aim. We wish to make our values visible through feminist praxis. For us feminism is a political term that stands for equality of women. In order to make our activities more effective and to inspire others to join us, we will work on empowerment of women, i.e. on improvement of women's personal power.

Our model of power is defined as awareness of our strength, but also of weaknesses, as well as the ability to act according to our own free will and have deep respect for us, as well as for others. Empowerment is in this way directly linked to self-consciousness and self-knowledge. The real challenge in development of our personal strength is our readiness to recognise power in ourselves, but also to have enough courage to get rid off everything that obstructs the complete manifestation of that power.

By applying feminist principles within our group, we will develop solidarity and group integrity. We prefer to come to decisions by means of reaching consensus. We will develop and share leadership skills, and ensure equal participation opportunities for all group members. We will approach conflicts as opportunities for our personal development, as well as those of the group. As a group, we stand for advancement of women's social status and for gender equality. We insist on application of all laws and international instruments for protection of human rights, particularly the Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). In this sense we will engage in consciousness-raising within communities. We will actively support women, as well as women' s groups and initiatives.

C E S I, Center for Education, Counselling and Research