It has been twenty years since the establishment of the Beijing Declaration–the resolution which sought to create a world where men and women would be created equal. And while great strides have been made in advancing gender equality laid out in the Declaration, one priority lags far behind: violence against women.
A new UN report shows that violence against women is still ubiquitous around the world, with little improvement made in the last 20 years. The report analyzes the ways in which violence against women manifests itself today, and the steps that must be taken to better address it.
Violence against women is an issue that transcends location, class, and race. It takes place in rich and poor countries alike. Domestic violence, rape, child marriage, and Female Genital Mutilation (FMG) are some of the manifestations of violence against women throughout the world.
According to the UN report an unacceptable amount of women are victims of violence:
- 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced physical violence in their lifetime
- 1 in 10 girls under the age of 18 are forced to have sex
- 38 percent of women who are murdered are killed by their partners
Violence persists even as women, as whole, become healthier, more self-sufficient, and more powerful. There are now an equal number of boys and girls enrolled in primary school, maternal mortality rates have been cut in half since the Beijing Declaration, and significantly more women hold jobs and leadership positions around the world today as compared to 20 years ago.
Changes are also being made on a policy level as more countries recognize the issues of gender-based violence today than ever before:
- 125 countries criminalize domestic violence today
- All but 32 countries have adopted gender equality laws into their constitutions
However, policy issues continue to exist around the issue. Despite the fact that laws have been established, many are still not enforced; numerous cases of violence against women still go unreported and unprosecuted. This is because, the report states, many women do not feel safe reporting instances of violence to local authorities and many men are not held responsible for their actions even after they have been reported.
Moving forward, the protection of women will become a major international priority. The Sustainable Development Goals, a set of international priorities to be established after 2015, will heavily emphasizes the end of violence against women and continued efforts will be made to enforce the domestic violence policies that are already in place.
One of The Hunger Project’s core values is to protect and empower women as key agents of change. Animators in our 12 program countries teach sessions on women’s empowerment, sexual protection, and resisting child marriage. Workshops and training sessions are held to teach women new skills and motivate them to run their own businesses.
The Hunger Project is an outspoken advocate of women’s rights. We believe violence against women must be stopped in order to create a thriving, hunger-free world.
Read the full UN Report
Learn how The Hunger Project is empowering women