Each year on November 25th the world commemorates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The date was chosen to honor the Mirabal sisters, Las Mariposas (the butterflies), three political activists from the Dominican Republic, who were brutally assassinated in 1960 during the Rafael Trujillo dictatorship (1930-1961).
The United Nations has confirmed that sexual and gender-based violence is the most extreme form of global and systemic inequality experienced by women and girls. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed that this issue knows no geographic, socio-economic or cultural boundaries; worldwide, one in three women will suffer physical or sexual violence at some point in her life, be it in the form of rape, domestic violence, harassment at work or even bullying on the Internet.
“Everyone has a responsibility to prevent and end violence against women and girls, starting by challenging the culture of discrimination that allows it to continue”
(Ban Ki-moon, 2014)
The promotion of sustainable development has to include the elimination of violence against women and their empowerment if we are to achieve any progress. Violence against women is a human rights violation, a consequence of discrimination and of persistent inequalities between men and women. It impedes advancement in many areas of sustainable development, from poverty eradication to fighting HIV/AIDS and achieving peace for all.
GFDD’s recent publication “Status of Women: Studies and reflections in the Dominican Republic and Latin America” (OPD-GFDD/Funglode 2011-2014 Documents) collects investigations on several important topics related to women, including the issues of femicide, political empowerment, domestic service and maternal mortality to name but a few. The publication argues that despite great progress having been made in this area in recent years, a stronger effort is needed for the effective empowerment of women and their active and productive participation in society, both in the Dominican Republic and abroad.
Sustainable development is about thinking about tomorrow while taking action today. The cost and consequences of violence against women last for generations and we have to stop it now by empowering them.
Women need to be able to participate fully in economic life across all sectors – this will help build stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities around the world.
Women’s Empowerment Principles
To learn more about how you can promote women’s empowerment in your area or community, please visit: http://www.unwomen.org/en/partnerships/businesses-and-foundations/womens-empowerment-principles
United Nations UNiTE Campaign to End Violence
Launched in 2008, the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign aims to raise public awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and ending all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world.
Learn more about what the UN is promoting to end violence against women, here: http://www.un.org/en/women/endviolence/