Investing in women and girls
THIS year’s United Nations theme for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is ‘Investing to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls’, focusing on the importance of investing in different prevention strategies to stop violence from the beginning, and before it begins. The stance is that governments can invest in comprehensive education programmes promoting gender equality, fostering respect, and teaching consent.
Additionally, supporting community initiatives, providing resources for mental health services, and strengthening law enforcement to address and prevent violence are crucial steps. Early intervention through school programmes and public awareness campaigns can contribute to a culture that rejects violence against women and girls.
The 16 Days of Activism kicked off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day.
Here are some specific ways we can invest in different prevention strategies to stop violence against women and girls.
Education programmes: Develop and implement school curricula that promote healthy relationships, consent, and gender equality from an early age.
Community outreach: Invest in community-based initiatives, workshops, and support groups that address domestic violence, empower women, and educate both genders on respectful behaviour.
Mental health services: Allocate resources to mental health programmes that provide counselling and support for individuals at risk of becoming perpetrators or victims of violence.
Law enforcement training: Ensure law enforcement receives specialised training to handle domestic violence cases sensitively and effectively, emphasising a victim-centred approach.
Technology solutions: Invest in technology tools and apps that can provide assistance, resources, and emergency support for those facing violence.
Hotline and support services: Strengthen helplines and support services to provide immediate assistance and resources for women and girls experiencing violence.
Legal reforms: Advocate for and implement legal reforms that protect victims, hold perpetrators accountable, and close gaps in existing legislation.
Media campaigns: Fund public awareness campaigns challenging harmful stereotypes, promoting positive role models, and encouraging reporting of violence.
Shelters and safe spaces: Invest in safe shelters and spaces for women and girls to escape violence, ensuring they have access to protection, counselling, and support.
Research and data collection: Allocate funds for research to better understand the root causes of violence, track its prevalence, and evaluate the effectiveness of prevention strategies.