By Praveen Prasad, WAM NY Chair
“Every girl and woman should be able to live safely and free of violence. Violence against women must never be accepted, never excused, never tolerated” -- UN Women
From 4-15 of March 2013, the United Nations Headquarters in New York will be hosting the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). This year’s priority theme is the “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”. The CSW forum will focus on two key areas: prevention of violence and the provision of support services/responses to survivors of violence. Held annually, CSW sessions bring together thousands of Government officials and representatives of the UN, civil society, media and the private sector. They meet to review progress, share experiences and good practices, analyze gaps and challenges and agree on priority actions to accelerate the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the achievement of gender equality.
The United Nations estimates that up to seven in ten women globally will be beaten, raped, abused, or mutilated in their lifetimes, and most of this violence takes place in intimate relationships. Not only is violence against women and girls a gross human rights violation, it has enormous social, economic and productivity costs for individuals, families, communities and societies.
Sustained advocacy by women’s organization and civil society groups on the issue of violence against women has helped bring attention to changes to the status of women globally. Much progress has happened over the last few decades. Today, there are international agreements and treaties specifically aimed at giving women and girls the respect, dignity, choices and freedom that every human being should enjoy. Important steps have been taken globally and locally to end violence against women. More than 125 countries have specific laws that penalize domestic violence. However, over 600 million women live in countries where it is not considered a crime.
Much more needs to be done and with greater attention, advocacy and determined leadership it is possible to end this pandemic.
WAM NY Marketing Committee.