Violence against women is also: Assuming what I’m thinking or what I need

Activism against Gender-Based Violence Action Against Hunger

Photo: Sadeque Rahman for Action Against Hunger.



From November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and until December 10th, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

Violence against women is one of the biggest causes of injury and death to women worldwide, causing more deaths and disability for women ages 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war. In other words, it’s an epidemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

However, violence against women goes beyond the physical. Violence can be physical, sexual, psychological. Violence can include limiting autonomy, decision-making power and access to certain resources.

For these 16 days, we are highlighting 16 different types of violence that women and girls experience beyond the physical.

You can take action against gender-based violence:



Day 16 – Violence against women is also assuming what I’m thinking or what I need.



Overlooking gender-specific needs

Mainstreaming gender within projects is of critical importance. Yet, aid agencies often continue to view gender as an ‘add on’ and women as agents that can help promote economic development. Although this view can yield benefits to the community, it is not always beneficial to the women themselves. Instead, women need to be viewed as an integral part of the development process.

The focus of many development agencies has shifted from promoting the economic independence of women, to understanding their needs as mothers, wives, entrepreneurs and employees. Instead of imposing ideas of what development ‘should’ be, this inclusive approach allows women, among other groups, to voice their own thoughts on how they need help. Prior to this, women were not necessarily empowered, but rather forced into taking on different roles as dictated by development programs.

The assumption about the needs of women doesn’t only occur in a development context, but also at home and within their own communities. With men often the heads of households, women are often left to take on the responsibilities to support their husbands and families. However, women themselves gain little support and are not given the chance to voice their personal needs. This is seen through all the various types of gender inequality that women continue to face, including the lack of access to reproductive healthcare, credit and education.


How Action Against Hunger gives women a voice

Action Against Hunger understands the importance of listening to and taking into account the needs of women. We ensure we include both men and women to play an active role in all stages of our interventions. In 2014, we developed our Gender Policy which lists numerous steps for mainstreaming gender in all development projects. We use a participatory approach that seeks the active participation of women, girls, men and boys in designing and implementing monitoring programs. Projects are designed to be gender- and context-sensitive and in line with the needs of women. Understanding gender and age differences and acting upon them is central to Action Against Hunger’s mission as we continue to meet the needs of women both during humanitarian crisis and during long term recovery.


Thank you for joining us for 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.


Ending violence against women is key to ending hunger.