The UN Foundation has always believed that empowering women and girls is essential in the global drive to eliminate poverty, achieve social justice, and stabilize the world’s population. Yet every day, around the world, women and girls experience sexual and gender-based violence that limits that potential.
Here are the facts:
- Up to 70 percent of women experience violence in their lifetime.
- Violence kills and disables as many women between the ages of 15 and 44 as cancer.
- The economic cost of violence against women in the United States alone exceeds US$5.8 billion per year.
The good news is that we all have the power to make a difference in the lives of millions of women and girls who encounter gender-based violence across the globe. As we get ready to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women later this month on November 25, I want to highlight a few ways you can get involved:
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls in all parts of the world. More than 880,000 actions have already been taken to date, and you can join the movement at www.saynotoviolence.org.
- Women aren’t the only ones who experience violence. Worldwide, nearly 50 percent of all sexual assaults are against girls 15 years or younger. The UN Foundation is working to make a difference through Girl Up, a “for girls, by girls” campaign that mobilizes American girls as a force of change in the lives of girls in developing countries. Learn more at GirlUp.org.
- More than 150 organizations — including 40 women’s groups across the globe and our sister organization, the Better World Campaign — worked with Congress to develop the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), which if passed would consistently incorporate solutions for reducing violence against women into U.S. foreign assistance programs. Join BWC in action at betterworldcampaign.org.
You can start to make a difference in the lives of women and girls by taking one of the actions that we have highlighted above. Living free from violence is a human right. Join us in being part of the solution.
Executive Director of Women and Population