Strengthening Efforts to End Violence Against Women and Girls

Article Date

11 February 2015

Article Author

Ibadet Reller

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

Announced today, the International Center for Research on Women, Ipsos-Mori – part of the National University of Ireland Galway-led consortium funded by the U.K. Department for International Development, will embark on a new study to investigate the economic and social costs of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in developing countries.

The study aims to move beyond an exclusive focus on intimate partner violence and will consider forms of violence perpetrated against women and girls including sexual violence in schools, sexual harassment in the workplace, and rape as a weapon of war.

The project will take a multi-disciplinary approach, involving experts in economics, social sciences, political science, sociology, gender studies, public health and psychology. The research will be undertaken in three countries – Ghana, Pakistan and South Sudan – representing fragile, conflict affected and/or low-middle income states, and will survey over 4,500 women across these countries, carrying out in-depth interviews with survivors of VAWG.

The social and economic impacts of violence against women and girls manifest as multiple impacts at the individual and household level through missing work – paid and unpaid – poor physical and mental health status, and poor reproductive outcomes. VAWG has long-term impacts on their educational opportunities, their ability to strengthen their skills and grow within the workforce, and stability of family life. Violence leads to strain on all of society. It poses a major burden on the healthcare system and social support services through loss of economic output, and expenditures incurred by national and local NGOs that provide services to prevent and respond to violence.

“Building on this evidence is crucial to create a better understanding of the tragic consequences of violence against women and girls – not only as a gross violation of human rights, but as a global economic issue,” said Stella Mukasa, ICRW’s Director of Gender, Violence and Rights.

The project is part of the UK Department for International Development’s investment of £25 million over five years, in a pioneering violence against women and girls Research and Innovation program called ‘What Works to Prevent Violence.’

The goal of the project is to strengthen the argument for resources to implement laws, provide health and social support services and to mobilize communities to shift the social norms that underpin VAWG.

“Strong evidence on the economic and social costs of violence against women and girls is crucial to underscore the significant consequences of inaction. We can no longer afford the cost of violence against women and girls. This project will provide us with groundbreaking evidence that will shift the social norms that underpin VAWG, catalyze investments and inform effective policies and programs to prevent violence,” said Mukasa.

Watch the launch at the National University of Ireland Galway via live webstreaming today starting at 5PM GMT.