Global Gender-Based Violence

By: Shannon S. 

More than half the world is made up of girls and women, yet they are still treated as second class citizens.

Every day women and girls face violence from friends, family and strangers, just because of their gender. How are girls and women ever going to gain respect and equality if they must face the threat of violence every day of their lives at home, on the street, and even in school? Why shouldn’t girls be treated with the same dignity and respect as their male counter-parts?

Girls hold the key to a more peaceful and equal world. The empowerment of girls is of the utmost importance to righting the wrongs females have experienced throughout history. Education is key to destroying the prejudices against girls and women. Through education, girls gain respect and dignity for themselves in addition to an academic standing that can help them advance in the world. This education must include involving boys and men as allies in shaming perpetrators and stopping violence against girls and women.

 

Steps must be taken to empower girls and women to stand up against gender inequality and discrimination. Organizations such as the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women work to ensure that girls complete secondary education, delay the age of marriage, strengthen women’s economic autonomy and security, and increase women’s participation in decision-making positions and political power.

Another organization taking strides to oppose violence is UNiTE to End Violence Against Women together with the Say NO campaign sponsored by UN Women. These global efforts aim to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls in all parts of the world. UNiTE has called on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing the global pandemic of violence against women and girls.

By 2015, UNiTE aims to achieve the following five goals in all countries:

  • Adopt and enforce national laws to address and punish all forms of violence against women and girls
  • Strengthen data collection on the prevalence of violence against women and girls
  • Increase public awareness and social mobilization
  • Address sexual violence in conflict

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