ICRW Hosts Discussion on Ending Violence Against Women

Article Date

04 May 2011

Article Author

By Gillian Gaynair

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

Expert panel will address ending violence against women as part of ICRW’s year-long Passports to Progress discussion series.

The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) on June 13 will host a panel on the challenges to and opportunities for ending violence against women in all its forms – whether it happens in the home or is used as a weapon of war. The event is part of ICRW’s year-long Passports to Progress 35th anniversary discussion series, which aims to address critical issues likely to shape the lives of women and girls in the coming years.

Titled “When She is Safe …” the conversation will be held at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. It will feature panelists Abigail Disney, filmmaker and founder of the Daphne Foundation and Fork Films, Donald Steinberg, deputy administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Mary Ellsberg, vice president of research and programs at ICRW. The panel will be moderated by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, ICRW board member and author of the New York Times best-seller, “The Dressmaker of Khair Khana.”

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ICRW chose violence as a discussion topic because it continues to contribute significantly to some of the most pressing problems affecting women, such as poverty and poor health. It also comes with an economic cost – to families who must pay for services to treat survivors or prosecute perpetrators, and to communities that must spend resources on court, health and social services. This remains the reality, despite much attention to the issue – particularly in conflict zones – and despite two decades of research and programming on violence against women, including by ICRW.

It was during the 1990s that research evidence began to show that violence against women was not just a “women’s issue,” but rather, a development, health and economic issue. ICRW at the time was the first organization to study the prevalence of domestic violence in India – and document its connection to poverty, maternal mortality and other issues. Findings from the ground-breaking study also were used to advocate for the passage of India’s 2005 anti-domestic violence law.

Passports to ProgressFor the June 13th Passports to Progress event – the second in the series – panelists will address the challenges that practitioners, governments and civil society face in addressing violence against women in developing countries. They also will discuss how best to tackle the issue in a way that is sustainable and cost-effective.

Ending violence against women – like each topic for the year-long discussion series – represents key areas of research and strategic advice for ICRW throughout its 35 years.

The organization was founded in 1976 as a program of the Federation of Organizations for Professional Women in response to concerns voiced at the first International Women’s Conference in Mexico. During the conference, participants suggested that development efforts were benefiting women and men unequally – to the detriment of entire societies. At the time, women’s roles, contributions and constraints were invisible to those who determined how countries spent funds to combat poverty, hunger and poor health. ICRW was established to make the invisible visible.

Learn more about ICRW’s 35-year history »

Gillian Gaynair is ICRW’s writer/editor.