ICA Gender Equality Committee urges action to stop violence against women and girls

Only 5% of government aid is focused on tackling violence against women and girls, UN figures show

The International Cooperative Alliance’s Gender Equality Committee (GEC) marked the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November with a statement highlighting the need for increased funding to prevent violence against women and girls.

The annual day aims to raise awareness of violence against women and girls, which UN figures show affects 736 million women globally.

This year’s campaign, which is themed UNiTE, runs from 25 November to 10 December – International Human Rights Day – asks citizens to call on governments worldwide to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.

Those wishing to join the campaign can use the #NoExcuse slogan on social media to call for urgent investments to prevent violence against women and girls.

GEC’s statement pointed out that according to the WHO, violence against women “is a global public health problem of pandemic proportions, affecting hundreds of millions of women and requiring urgent action”.

“The Covid-19 pandemic, conflicts and climate change have increased the risks for this violence and generated new threats, amplifying the vulnerability of women and girls,” said GEC chair Xiomara Núñez de Céspedes.

“In addition, new forms of violence are emerging online – harassment, coordinated attacks, and gendered disinformation – deterring women and girls from participating in the public sphere. As we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we reaffirm, one more year, our commitment against this scourge which is not only destroying the lives of millions of women but also eroding our communities.”

In 2018 the ICA adopted its Declaration on Decent Work and Against Harassment through which it, along with its constituent bodies, committed to the promotion of a decent working environment and zero tolerance for any form of harassment. The declaration refers to the ICA Statement on Cooperative Identity, the ILO Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation 193 and the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.

According to the UN, only 5% of government aid is focused on tackling violence against women and girls, and less than 0.2% is directed to its prevention.

“We are proud of the leadership and powerful voices of women in the co-operative movement, which proves it to be an inclusive business model that contributes to balance gender inequalities and builds decent work in many sectors of the economy,” said Núñez de Céspedes.

“This year, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women calls for increasing investment in the prevention of violence against women and girls (VAWG).

“GEC endorses the united call of the international community to not only stop but prevent gender-based violence in all spheres. Despite the co-operative movement’s efforts to promote peace within the movement and among its stakeholders, we call for additional resources in this area to prevent this infamous story from being repeated over and over again.”

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