Credit: Jazmin Campbell

A group of Luxembourg high school students and senior citizens gathered yesterday at the CIPA Sanem retirement home to discuss gender equality.

With International Women's Day coming up this Friday and 2019 marking the centenary of the introduction of universal suffrage in Luxembourg, it seemed as good a time as ever to discuss the development of women's rights and gender equality over the past decades, as well as what remains to be done in this area. It is in this context that the Ministry of Equality between Women and Men decided to spark an "intergenerational dialogue" between students (Lycée Belval) and senior citizens.

Preceding the discussions was a film screening of director Anne Schroeder's "Histoire(s) de femme(s)", a 70-minute documentary (in Luxembourgish, French and German) looking at the history of women's rights through the personal stories of Luxembourgish women of all ages in the 20th-century. The film particularly looks at the story of Florence Weimerskirch, who was also present at the event. It begins and concludes with extracts from the Women's March 2017, led by a group of women in the USA. The film thus traces the past and present of feminist movements from the 20th-century to today.

Discussions took the form of a round-table led by Minister of Equality between Women and Men Taina Bofferding, the film's director Anne Schroeder and its protagonist Florence Weimerskirch. Senior citizens from CIPA Sanem shared their experiences of gender (in)equality in the past and reflected upon the changes that have been made since then. The students expressed their surprise at stories of women having to leave work and stay at home upon marriage or not being able to pursue an education or study what they wanted.

However, whilst all agreed that there has been much progress in the area of gender equality in Luxembourg, many maintained that work remains to be done. It was here that Minister of Equality between Women and Men Taina Bofferding spoke of the government's priorities in this area, namely getting both women and men engaged in the matter and bringing the subject to the classrooms at an early stage. 

Another intergenerational dialogue will take place today between students from Atert Lycée Rédange and the senior citizens from CIPA Sanem. The main aim of these initiatives is to allow young people to engage with these issues and learn about the (ongoing) rocky path to gender equality from the stories (both positive and negative) of older generations.