8 March 2018, PEN International launched its Women’s Manifesto, a set of principles, which aim to protect free expression for women by combating and eliminating the silencing of women worldwide, whether through censorship, harassment, or violence.
On International Women’s Day, the PEN International highlighted women’s rights to express themselves freely and play an equal role in world literature. PEN, along with advisors who have helped develop the manifesto – including Kamila Shamsie and Caroline Criado Perez – recommends women writers on Twitter throughout the day using the hashtag “#ReadWomenPEN”.
In their statement, they pen endorses the following internationally recognised principles: Non-violence, safety, education, equality and access. The manifesto was developed in consultation with Kamila Shamsie, Gillian Slovo, Gaby Wood, Ellah Allfrey, Nina George, Lisa Appignanesi and Caroline Criado Perez among others, and passed with unanimity at the Assembly of Delegates of PEN International 83rd World Congress in Lviv, Ukraine on 21 September 2017.
PEN International’s president and writer Jennifer Clement said:
‘In the manifold varieties of violence – from murder and domestic violence, to stolen girls who are sold and trafficked, to female students at universities who are rated and slut shamed on social media – one common result is to silence the voices of women and hamper the transmission of their words and stories leaving unfilled pages and impoverished literatures. This manifesto is our commitment, as the world’s largest writers’ association, to achieve gender equality.’
The manifesto builds on PEN’s Charter, which states that ‘literature knows no frontiers.’ ICORN cooperates closely with PEN International and spent the whole of Womens DAY in meetings together to find new ways to collaborate and work for freedom of expression world wide – for women and men alike.
To read the manifesto in full click here.