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(Kvinnors Nätverk)

"Women's rights are human rights. Human rights must stand above cultural differences and religious dogmas. Violations of human rights can never be justified by culture, tradition or religious beliefs".

This is the very foundation of the work carried out by The Women's Network. Our knowledge base and our work methods are all sprung from the Human Rights declarations and conventions and from our experiences from support work in practice. The Women's Network strongly rejects all forms of social, cultural, religious, economic or political argument aimed to justify or conceal discrimination and oppression of children and women.


The Women's Network is a grass root organisation with active members as well as support members. The Women's Network was founded in 1994 as a product of the local radio programme"Women's voice" that is aired in Persian. Through the radio show we were contacted by a great number of women in an exposed and vulnerable situation and in need of support. With time activities and thereby the organisation grew from informal support conversations to becoming a permanent support organisation for women and children suffering from various forms of violations. Today we also work as representatives for they who seek support.

Network's activities are primarily financed by grants from the Social Services of Stockholm City (Stockholms Stads Socialtjänstförvaltning) and by the County Administrative Board of Stockholm (Länsstyrelsen i Stockholms län), as well as by the Swedish Inheritance Fund.


The Women's Network sympathizes with the radical wing of the women's movement that works for equality and equal opportunities for women all over the world. We want to change how the world is today, where sexism, porn, heteronormativity, trafficking of women, women abuse, racism and exploitation of work mainly victimise women. We do not only focus on the roots of the problem of the female oppression, we also offer a wide support for exposed women and children (for example as representatives at meetings with the authorities).

In the beginning, The Women's Network was not supposed to work as a social support centre since it is the society's responsibility to do. In the Social service's law chapter 5, §11, it says that the Social welfare board in every municipality is supposed to work for the crime victims and their close ones to get help and support. The law stresses in particular that the Social welfare board should pay attention to help and support women and children who are exposed to violence. We, however, see a society that does not fulfil its responsibility. Therefore we have an important role to play and one of our most important functions is to increase the citizens' knowledge and consciousness about women and children's rights, make them heard and make society's responsibility visible. We also work with spreading information and with counselling with the authorities.

The Women's Network means that the human rights are universal. The cultural relativism, where culture is more important than the individual, is never acceptable! We must never accept that parallel legal systems develop, one cultural/ religious and one legal. We must never take culture or religion into more consideration than the individual. Human rights must never be dependent on culture or religion; human rights mean everybody should have the same rights. The Women's Network acknowledges religious freedom and the right to maintain ethnic and cultural traditions as long as they do not violate basic human rights.

The Women's Network does not recognize any unconditional rights for parents to control young people's lives, or to force them into living according to religious or cultural regulations that they themselves do not accept. The Women's Network is of the opinion that this principle is especially important in issues regarding young female immigrants' sexual freedom, and the right to freely choose their boyfriends/partner.

The Women's Network believes that a free debate, a free flow of information and free research regarding the mechanisms that lead to oppression of women and young people is of crucial importance in order to combat the oppression.


The Women's Network has employees, activists and volunteer members who annually elect a board in a democratic election.

The Women's Network operates: Matilda (for adults), Linnamottagningen and Systra mi (for youths), support activities and Höja rösten. Through these activities we spread information and knowledge, counselling, support, motivate and fight for women and children's rights.

The majority of our visitors are youths and young women who have had the power and courage to resist, and who have had the strength to seek us and get support in a situation where they will change their life situation. The people who contact us are not only victims but also strong individuals who have the strength and courage to resist offending treatment, oppression and violence.

To dare to change a destructive life situation requires a great deal of the individual and the people who seek support of The Women's Network often have a long and complicated history of their own struggle for change. To fight on their own can be very difficult and in the end many lose their strength or motivation to continue on their own.

Through experience The Women's Network know that foremost youths need a widely spread everyday support. When the person has gone through the acute phase the lack of a network is often large since they have left their family and close ones. In this situation many are in need of a mentor and this we can help with through our support work.

We follow the person through the whole process, from the initial phase when the supplicant is mainly in need of acute arrangements, to when the long term work by creating a functioning and independent life starts. Our goal for the youths who seek us is that he/ she can/ have/dare to live the life he/she wants! We work with empowerment to strengthen the youths so they can be free individuals, live independently and free themselves from objectification.

An important task for the Women's Network is spreading information and forming the public opinion regarding the rights of youths and women. We attend events where we come in contact with our target groups, officials and politicians for discussions and sharing experiences as much as possible, examples of this is visiting schools, social advice and guidance centres for young people, conferences and meetings with cooperation partners. We also try to have an active global monitoring and take part of research, studies and practical experiences. The Women's Network always tries to follow the debate and forming the public opinion with the purpose to change the attitudes in the society and to put demands on the politicians. We participate in experience exchanges both nationally and internationally, and we create our own forums.

The Women's Network also supports other organisations and authorities that in different ways work with the rights of youths and women, especially the honour related violence so that the knowledge and competence is strengthen and spread.

We carry out courses, seminars and conferences and offer meetings for the actives and the sympathisers in order to inspire action. Through this type of work we hope to recruit more active people in the fight for the rights of youths and women.

An important part of our member activities is to exchange experiences, increase our knowledge and discuss our role in society. This is a must to develop and survive as an organisation.

To reach our goals we need to be many and fight together. Together we are stronger!!


Unfortunately it is mainly women and children who are the victims of control, abuse, pressure, threats and different forms of violence. One of the most important tasks of The Women's Network is the fight against the honour related violence and the support of its victims.

The honour related violence is closely connected to the control over the women's bodies, sexuality and feelings. The honour problem is not firstly about physical abuse or threats of violence, but of limitations in movement and of control and alienation. The social control is carried out by women as well as men, within and outside the family. The common feature for honour related violence is that it is often carried out by different persons and is therefore given a collective legitimacy. Violence towards women (generally) and honour related violence (in particular) is a social problem and should be treated as a crime, acted on with a firm and immediate social reaction.

The perpetrator is not only the person carrying out the deed but also the religious culture that powers the oppression. By knowing the reason for the oppression we can for example understand why the virginity of a girl is so important.

It must be possible to discuss religious cultures without being called a racist or prejudiced. We cannot fail the youths because of fear of racists using the situation or because of fear being called islamophobia. Besides the religious culture also misogynistic attitudes and alienation can enhance the oppression.

Violence in homes is reported to a lower degree than violence in public places. Women's inclination to blame themselves, take back statements, redefine the incident by diminishing or denying it, are all aspects that make the support work more difficult. When we are to understand the problems that the individuals who seek our support have, this is what we assume but we also make additions. Some very important aspects are segregation and alienation; others are experiences of other norm systems and values than the ones that dominate the society in general.

Since the honour related violence has become a concern for the society, we have to a larger extent started to act as advisors for others in the field and for the authorities who in different ways are in contact with the target group of our network.


We try to show women's situation in the world, for example in Afghanistan, Turkey and Iraq and spread sisterhood and solidarity. We have cooperated with women in Afghanistan about women's right and children's right. Through drama exercises, among other things, we exchanged experiences of work with women exposed to violence. The Women's Network has also produced two documentary movies about the situation of children and women in Afghanistan.


Many of the members in The Women's Network get engaged as volunteers in the organisation, for many it is a way to make the sisterhood a practical act. To be a volunteer is not only about giving - one also gets much in return, such as new knowledge, friends and personal development.

The volunteers are a valuable resource in different activities; they help with driving practice, homework, moving, doing work with the web page and many other things.

As a volunteer you can also work as a sustaining person with a girl or a woman, how this is carried out depends on the needs and requirements of the person. The sustaining person should preferably be able to work a few hours every week and it is a requirement to have done the sustaining person course given by The Women's Network.


One of our most important roles is to increase the citizens' knowledge and consciousness about women and children's' rights, to make their voices heard and make the society's responsibility visible.


The Women's Network's support activities are aimed to both youth as well as adults, but are organized and financed through different activities and temporary projects. For The Women's Network a long-term perspective is of uttermost importance since the support work after the acute phase is essential for the result of the help and effort. Unfortunately it is often in this part of the work that both the economic and time aspects fall short in many support activities in society. Our goal is to support the help seeker throughout the whole process.


Linnamottagningen was founded 2004 and is The Women's Network's open reception for boys and girls aged 13-25. Systra mi started 2007 as a development of the Dalila project, and is an open reception for girls aged 13—25.

Linnamottagninen and Systra mi have in common that the youths are exposed to oppression and violation by family, relatives or other close persons. They are maybe subjected to:

Many of the youth we meet in our support activities have a deeply damaged self-concept and low self-confidence. In many cases the youths have had to stop having contact with their whole social network in order to handle their life situation and live therefore isolated and lonely. Often there is an impending risk for self destructive behaviour, e.g. self inflicted injuries, suicide attempts, addiction, assault and battery relationship, and prostitution.

For many of the young ones who seek help at The Women's Network the feelings of desolation and loneliness will be the most difficult challenge in their new life situation. Many carry the feelings of guilt and shame towards the people they love and consider having failed. Many also live with the conflict of the values they have been raised with and with their own wishes which in turn often leads to destructive senses of guilt. A large part of the youths we come in contact with is unused to regard or even identify their own needs and wishes. Many of them have also got an insufficient knowledge about society and are not prepared for an independent life in forms of living on their own and taking care of their own economy. Another problem area is the lack of knowledge of social codes which can create problems in their social lives. During their earlier life they have not learnt how they are supposed to act and behave in different social situations.

For these youths we want to:

Today we note that many young people who seek the support of the society change their choices and strategies. This is done over long periods of time during their emancipation process and it is therefore important to see their actions as parts of a deeper process that is connected to the person's earlier experiences of mental health and problematic background. Some will choose to return to their earlier life situation and adapt to the set demands. Others will try to find new strategies to find solutions that compromise, so that they finally will be seen and understood. Then there are others who are determined to change their life situation and who will never or much later seek contact with their earlier social network. Our task as supporters is to facilitate as much as possible for the people navigating in this process.

LINNAMOTTAGNINGEN offers girls and boys: Linnamottagningen also offers counselling for those who come in contact with the target group through their work or activities.

Systra mi offers girls:

Both Linnamottagningen and Systra mi are located in central Stockholm.


The other large group who seeks help is women who in different ways have been exposed to violence within their relationship. The specific target group The Women's Network above all comes in contact with is especially vulnerable since many have arrived to Sweden through arranged marriages or forced marriages and therefore often lack permanent residence permit. According to Swedish legislation people who receive a residence permit because of marriage or cohabiting with a Swedish citizen only receive a temporary permit for the first two years. Thereafter the permanent residence permit is granted provided that the relationship is intact. The women's stay is therefore dependent on the relation to the man, which makes the women's situation very exposed and disprivileged.

Within Matilda we also come in contact with women who need support because of violence within their relationship, support in a divorce process, and support in custodial issues.

For these women we want to:


Kvinnors Nätverk
Telephone:08-646 10 70
Fax:08-728 84 10
Address:Kvinnors Nätverk
Box 2242
Telephone:08-728 00 55
Fax:08-728 84 10
Box 2242
Telephone:08-411 78 55
Fax:08-728 84 10
E-mail: info@kvinnonet.net
Box 2242
103 16

Telephone line for youths - All days - 09.00 – 22.00
Tel020-40 70 40
(It cost's you nothing and the call will not be seen on phone company's bill.)