The UN Sustainable Development Goals and Violence against Women
17 global goals were set by The United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The Goals are broad and interdependent, and each has a separate list of targets to achieve.
The primary Goal related to Violence against Women is Goal 5 “Gender Equality”.
"Gender Equality" Goal 5, has the subscript that ending all forms of discrimination against women is not only a basic human right, but is crucial to accelerating sustainable development. They include the statistic that 7 out of every 10 women around the world experience physical and/or sexual violence at sometime during their lifetime.
While there are still huge inequalities, the SDGs are aimed at ending all forms of inequality and discrimination against women and girls all over the world.
Unfortunately, at the current time, 1 in 5 women and girls between the ages of 15-49 have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period and 49 countries currently have no laws protecting women from domestic violence. Progress is occurring regarding harmful practices such as child marriage and FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), which has declined by 30% in the past decade, but there is still much work to be done to complete eliminate such practices.
Forms of Violence against women
Domestic violence is violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. It may be termed intimate partner violence when committed by a spouse or partner in an intimate relationship against the other spouse or partner, and can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationships, or between former spouses or partners. Sadly all too often these violent episodes can end in murder “Between 80 and 100 Australian women die at the hands of their male partners every year – and “A woman in Australia is more likely to be killed in her own home by her male partner than anywhere else or by anyone else.” (*The ABS Personal Safety Survey 2006)
One of the most important resolutions on domestic violence is the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (DEVAW). Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1993, DEVAW establishes the most comprehensive set of standards in international law for the protection of women against sexual and gender-based violence. DEVAW recognises violence against women as “an obstacle to the achievement of equality” and a “manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women,”
It is estimated that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner (not including sexual harassment) at some point in their lives. However, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. Evidence shows that women who have experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence report higher rates of depression, having an abortion and acquiring HIV, compared to women who have not. [UN Woman]
Women are still hesitant to go out alone at night. Even in Australia we hear of instances of rape and murder on a woman from an assailant who is unknown to her.
Female Genital Mutilation
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a practice that involves altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons, and it is internationally recognized as a human rights violation. Globally, it is estimated that 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM. Although FGM is declining in the majority of countries where it is prevalent, most of these are also experiencing a high rate of population growth – meaning that the number of girls who undergo FGM will continue to grow if efforts are not significantly scaled up.
To promote the abandonment of FGM, coordinated and systematic efforts are needed, and they must engage whole communities and focus on human rights and gender equality. They must also address the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls who suffer from its consequences.
UNFPA, jointly with UNICEF, leads the largest global programme to accelerate the abandonment of FGM. The programme currently focuses on 17 African countries and also supports regional and global initiatives. (United Nations Population Fund)
The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) is a multi-stakeholder initiative providing global access to expertise, knowledge and innovative partnerships to combat human trafficking.
The UN.GIFT was conceived to promote the global fight on human trafficking, on the basis of international agreements reached at the UN. To date, 167 countries are parties to the Protocol to Prevent, suppress and punish Trafficking in persons especially Women and Children, which supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
UN.GIFT was launched in March 2007 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. UN.GIFT works with all stakeholders - governments, business, academia, civil society and the media - to support each other's work, create new partnerships and develop effective tools to fight human trafficking.
The Global Initiative is based on a simple principle: human trafficking is a crime of such magnitude and atrocity that it cannot be dealt with successfully by any government alone. This global problem requires a global, multi-stakeholder strategy that builds on national efforts throughout the world.
From these few examples it can be seen that The United Nations General Assembly, through their various subsections, are doing their best to implement the Sustainable Development goals, and in this example particularly those referring to Goal 5. Interspersed through many of the other 16 goals are indications of where discrimination against women can lead to further cases of violence against them.
One organization cannot change the world alone, and The United Nations relies on the support of Governments, NGOs, such as Soroptimist International, and other not-for-profit and charitable associations to support and implement these goals.
This information was researched and written by Jennie van Driel - SI Joondalup Western Australia