Photo: Action Against Hunger programs in Mongolia.
16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
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 6 – Violence Against Women is also: Denying the right to education
The vicious poverty and education cycle
There has been a significant improvement in the gender-based gap in education over the last few years. However the current literacy rates of adult females stands at 82%, compared to 89% for adult males. Even though gender gaps have narrowed, systematic differences persist and women continue to experience both violence and a lack of voice. This is magnified by the lack of ownership rights and lower levels education.
Girls face numerous barriers to education, including cultural norms, lack of access and violence. The most significant barrier however, is the cost of secondary education compared to that of primary schools. Secondary schools are often more difficult for poverty-ridden families to afford. The opportunity cost of attending secondary schools is also higher, as both girls and boys can contribute to family income once they are old enough to work. Additionally, due to cultural norms, girls are often married earlier, in order to ensure that they are provided for and to relieve the financial burden from poorer families. This leads to a vicious cycle where early marriage results in lower educational levels, which renders women more dependent on their husbands and more likely to repeat the process with their own daughters.
Drawing the links between violence and education
In all regions, it is widely known that better education results in women marrying at a later age and having fewer children. This allows them the opportunity of taking on more responsibilities outside of their households, and results in higher income levels. Additionally, education gives mothers enhanced agency to make decisions for the benefit of their children.
When women receive a higher income, they tend to reinvest 90% into their families, as opposed to men who only invest around 30-40%. This explains why educated mothers are more likely to have healthier children who have a greater chance at succeeding in adulthood.
Action Against Hunger works to break this cycle in many ways: we help educate mothers and increase their economic independence so they can reinvest in their daughters. We also create father-to-father support groups to educate fathers on the importance of actively taking part in household duties and why women’s empowerment is a win-win for everyone.
Help us create brighter futures for girls.