Case Study – Dundee International Women’s Centre

DIWC – Dundee International Women’s Centre


DIWC was founded in 1969 and aims to increase the capacity of women from all communities, but particularly BME women, to take an active part in social, economic and political life through building confidence, education, skills and employability.


Celebrating 50 years 


Our weekly programme of events, unique to Dundee, encourages women to participate, with easy routes into social and skills based groups, formal learning and SQA accredited training. We are also part of the Dundee ESOL Partnership, giving new Scots the confidence to engage.


Our in-house crèche removes the barrier of childcare, and our social enterprise mobile childcare service creates jobs for women and gives them quality training.


Through the Freedom From Harm project, women are able to discuss Harmful Practices (Honour Violence, Forced Marriage and FGM) and have a safe space to explore their causes and effects. We identify these practices s violence against women and place them in the context of inequalities and power imbalance.


Freedom from Harm workshop


It is vital for women from affected communities to be aware of the law in Scotland and understand the consequences of perpetrating or being complicit. However, knowing that there is a law and using it are two different things. Our workshops give women the chance to consider their personal realities and how things could change within their own communities.


We also work with other agencies to raise their awareness of Harmful Practices and make staff more confident to identify and tackle them. Without this, there is a lack of knowledge and a great deal of misunderstanding of the subject. Our open discussions allow professionals to share their fears.


Every year we provide training to students from the University of Dundee’s School of Nursing and Midwifery to help them communicate appropriately with and treat women who have undergone FGM.


These are incredibly difficult issues to discuss, we have to be very sensitive in the way we raise them in order to encourage women to engage. There’s little point in asking people to come to a workshop about Harmful Practices if they don’t see the practices as anything other than normal, so we’ve learned over the years to use language like “women’s health issues”.


16 Days of Activism against VAW


Women are also under a lot of pressure from extended families to stick with the status quo so even though they are increasingly deciding that harmful practices should be stopped. They are often faced with uncertain immigration status and lack of money. Unless and until they have the status and power to bring about changes they are not able to stop them.


With FGM in particular, there is a fear that bad legislation will drive the practice underground and lead to more harmful outcomes for those they seek to protect. DIWC has been inputting into the Scottish Government’s consultation process as the current bill moves through the different stages.


Book a Freedom from Harm workshop for a community group or an agency by emailing

We also provide workshops on Sexual Harassment and Internet Safety/Radicalisation.

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Facebook: @diwc1969

Twitter: @diwc1969