All women and girls have a right to live free of violence. Violence against women is neither inevitable nor acceptable; it is a violation of human rights for which states are accountable. Violence against women, which is fueled by gender-based inequality, exclusion and discrimination, is a constraint to sustainable human development.
Men and boys must be part of the solution to end gender-based violence. According to the UNFPA, a review of the evidence from 58 programmes around the world that focus on men and boys in addressing gender-based violence show a decrease in self-reported use of physical, sexual and psychological violence in intimate relationships and increased social support of spouses through shifts in community norms.
More recently, the World Economic Forum presented its Global Gender Gap report. The report includes an index which tracks the strong correlation between a country’s gender gap and its national competitiveness. The rankings are designed to create greater awareness among a global audience of the challenges posed by gender gaps and the opportunities created by reducing them. Because women account for one-half of a country’s potential talent base, a nation’s competitiveness in the long term depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilises its women.
Globally, three out of ten women in the world report having experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. In most cases, the abuser is a member of the woman’s own family, according to a study done by World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2005. Gender-based violence increases in times of armed conflict, crisis, transition and socio-economic stress. The breakdown in protection mechanisms that occurs typically increases rates of violence, sexual harassment and trafficking of women and children.
Globally, women migrants predominantly work in the informal sector – often in unregulated professions such as domestic work, agriculture or services; this makes them particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Generally, the majority of victims of human trafficking are also women and girls.
For many women and girls, migration is a way to fulfill their potential, to develop and to exercise their human rights. But being both a migrant and female also exposes them to risk – the risk of being subjected to violence. Migrant women and girls are especially vulnerable to human trafficking and labour exploitation.
In The Gambia, we want a nation where democracy is successful and where human rights for all men and women is respected. The future of The Gambia is up to all of us. Our actions at the individual and collective levels, will determine what kind of future we want and what kind of society we wish for our daughters and sons to grow up in. Change might take time, but step by step, we will find the future we are now developing evolving. During that process, and as part of that future, all Gambians need to take part in some way. The Gambia cannot afford to neglect the capacities, strengths, inputs, ideas, visions and uniqueness of half of its population. Women of The Gambia’s voice have to be heard.]]>