Violence against women is also: Limiting mobility and independence

Mobility Action Against Hunger

Photo: Lys Arango for Action Against Hunger, Iraq 2017.



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 4 – Violence Against Women is also: Limiting mobility and independence

In most developing countries, a person’s mobility is largely affected by their gender and cannot be solved solely through improved transportation infrastructure. Overcoming barriers to immobility demands a context-specific assessment of gender relations, poverty and cultural beliefs. In the face of violence and conflict, men possess greater geographical independence allowing them to seek new opportunities with more ease. Women are left behind with children and have difficulties balancing household duties with the need to travel. A survey conducted by Action Against Hunger found that 60% of female-headed households tended to work for their better-off neighbours, due to the restricted mobility.


Gender and mobility

Why do women tend to travel less? This question has several plausible explanations. According to the World Bank, women spend more time doing household work and are left with less time for leisure when compared to men. They therefore tend to make a greater amount of shorter trips. Their travel schedules are usually not flexible and accommodate for other obligations, such as childcare, cooking and part time employment. Their travel schedules also take into account alternative modes of transportation, as the transport sector poses a greater danger to women than to men. As women are more likely to be the target of assault and harassment, precautionary measures are common. The World Bank notes that non-motorized forms of transport are more common for women, both for work and non-work related activities.

The lack of mobility poses a significant risk to women, particularly those in rural areas. The chances of mortality are much higher for pregnant women in rural areas, due to the lack of access to timely healthcare services. In regions facing humanitarian crises, both mothers and their children are made vulnerable by the lack of access to timely and safe transport.


What is Action Against Hunger doing?

Action Against Hunger takes into account the barriers in physical mobility that restricts a woman’s access to services. In order to overcome this issue, we provide both inpatient and outpatient care. Outpatient care is generally for mothers and children in remote regions, with limited access to transport. Mobile teams have been set up in order to pay home visits and to treat patients on the spot.

Additionally, the Coverage Monitoring Network, an interagency initiative, is led by Action Against Hunger in partnership with several NGOs such as Save the Children and the Hellen Keller Foundation. This initiative sets out to gain a comprehensive understanding of the coverage of Action Against Hunger’s malnutrition programs. What does that mean? Through a set of monitoring and evaluation tools, as well as surveys conducted within rural communities, the initiative helps to reveal the barriers to the program’s coverage within a country-specific context.

Action Against Hunger out-patient clinic in Mauritania.


Help us reach more people with our outpatient malnutrition clinics.