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Scotland: PEN Presents its Women's Manifesto to Nicola Sturgeon

Wednesday 15 August 2018 - 5:00pm

PEN International President Jennifer Clement, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Publishing Director and manifesto advisor Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE, and PEN International board member Margie Orford

PEN International presented its Women’s Manifesto to First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon

A PEN International delegation, including President Jennifer Clement and Board member Margie Orford and Publisher Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE, presented the PEN International Women’s Manifesto, which aims to protect free expression for women by combating and eliminating the silencing of women worldwide, to the First Minister of Scotland at Bute House.

Jennifer Clement, President of PEN International said: ‘The PEN International Women’s Manifesto acknowledges the use of culture, religion and tradition as an excuse for keeping women and girls silent. The Manifesto speaks to the sorrow and injustice at unfilled pages and impoverished literatures and calls for a world where women and girls can express themselves safely, fully and freely.’

First Minister of Scotland endorsed the Manifesto and said:

‘It was a real privilege to host the launch of PEN International’s Women’s Manifesto in Bute House tonight in association with Edinburgh International Book Festival. I’m delighted to endorse this important statement of what needs to be done to make free expression for women a reality across the world.’

The Manifesto states:

‘PEN believes that violence against women, in all its many forms, both within the walls of a home or in the public sphere, creates dangerous forms of censorship. Across the globe, culture, religion and tradition are repeatedly valued above human rights and are used as arguments to encourage or defend harm against women and girls.’

The meeting with Scotland’s First Minister is part of PEN International’s ongoing work of building on the six internationally recognised principles of the Women’s Manifesto with our Centres and global membership to promote non-violence, safety, education, equality, access and parity for all women irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, or cultural context.

The Manifesto was developed in consultation with Kamila Shamsie, Gillian Slovo, Gaby Wood, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE, Nina George, Lisa Appignanesi and Caroline Criado Perez among others, and approved unanimously at the Assembly of Delegates of PEN International’s 83rd World Congress in Lviv, Ukraine, on 21 September 2017.

To read the Manifesto in full click here.

Contact details of the main contact:

For further information, please contact Sahar Halaimzai: | t. +44 (0)20 7405 0338 |Twitter: @pen_int | |

Note to editors:

PEN International promotes literature and freedom of expression and is governed by the PEN Charter and the principles it embodies: unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations. Founded in London in 1921, PEN International – PEN’s Secretariat – connects an international community of writers. It is a forum where writers meet freely to discuss their work; it is also a voice speaking out for writers silenced in their own countries. Through Centres in over 100 countries, PEN operates on five continents. PEN International is a non-political organisation which holds Special Consultative Status at the UN and Associate Status at UNESCO. PEN International is a registered charity in England and Wales with registration number 1117088