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Babaylan Europe

Babaylan EU

Babaylan EU logo

Babaylan EU An initiative of Philippine women’s groups and women’s desks in Europe, The Philippine Women’s Network in Europe, came about as a result of the first Europewide conference of Filipinas held in Spain (Barcelona) on 23-26 September 1992. It was in response to a long felt need of Filipinas living and working in Europe to link together and forge unity to improve their situation, address specific issues affecting their lives as Filipinas, needing effective and liberating support for each other.

The newly established Europe-wide network formed in Barcelona was aptly named Babaylan – a title given to priestesses and shamans in pre-Spanish times. These indigenous priestesses performed not only sacred rites but also exercised leadership roles in all aspects of community life. They fought alongside with the people for a peaceful and egalitarian society against the imposition of a foreign politico-cultural system by the Spanish colonizers.

Today across the European Union and beyond, Babaylan platform organizations have been at the core of organising for immigrant rights and integration initiatives in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain (UK and Scotland),Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. The European babaylanes are committed to the struggle for an egalitarian Europe where immigrant rights, esp. those of women are secured through democratic processes of inclusion in society and in the labour market, and promoting harmonious community relations where migrant women images in the media are truthful, accurate instead of victimising stereotypes that lead to discrimination and racism.

Bi-annually, a General Assembly elects an Executive Committee and a number of Representatives from the member countries, and together they are tasked with co-ordinating the network’s Europewide activities, finding the ways and means to implement the network’s prioritized areas, and to represent the interests of the Filipina migrant before the European and world community through lobbying, advocacy work, research and communication, leadership training, capacity building, and network support actions.