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Tuesday 18 Dec 2018 | 21:25 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 18 Dec 2018 | 21:25 | SYDNEY

IWD 2013: Time for action to end violence against women



8 March 2013 08:44

Today is International Women's Day. Now more than a century old, IWD this year is highlighting an ancient and enduring crime: violence against women.

Much has been written about the perniciousness of violence against women and the fundamental abuse of women's human rights. This year's 57th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, now meeting in New York, is dedicating its two-week session to the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. And in November, the annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women will again urge the world to stop the violence.

But despite the good intentions, the global campaigns, the international days and UN-sponsored meetings, this appalling human reality persists. And not just in those countries such as Afghanistan which have become infamous because of their treatment of women. This is a scourge in developed and developing countries alike. Here are just some of the disturbing facts.

The numbers

The law

The beliefs

  • Preliminary data from a recent AusAID-funded survey in Vanuatu indicates that about three out of every  four people – both men and women — believe there are times when a woman should be beaten. In a similar survey in PNG last year, 63% of the men and 55% of the women interviewed agreed with the proposition that violence against women often happens because the woman is asking for it by nagging or criticising her partner. 
  • Commenting after her visit to PNG in 2012, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo said 'Domestic violence is socially perceived as a normal aspect of a woman's life and a family matter that should not be discussed publicly.'

The economic cost

  • The annual economic cost of violence against women and their children in Australia has been estimated at $13.6 billion.
  • In Canada, the annual economic cost has been estimated at C$6.9 billion.
  • According to the Commission on the Status of Women, gender violence strips 1.78% off Vietnam's yearly gross domestic product.

And finally, the irony

Promoting gender equality and empowering women is one of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. Yet that same goal says nothing about reducing or eliminating violence against women.

Photo by Flickr user iamtheo.

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