Action Aid UK, which is through GADN part of the WIDE+ Network, has released a report that marks the launch of its Fearless campaign on violence against women. It is calling on the UK government to push for the implementation of the target to eliminate violence against women, which is included in the Sustainable Development Goals due to be agreed in September at the UN.
Despite decades of hard fought for women’s rights victories, no country in the world has successfully eliminated violence against women and girls (VAWG).
The report argues that resisting this pervasive threat takes courage and, every day, FEARLESS women put their lives on the line fighting for change. Yet their resistance is constrained by a backlash against women’s rights fuelled by widening political and economic inequalities, a crackdown on civil rights and rising religious fundamentalism. Women’s organisations and their activism is key to exposing and challenging the gender inequalities underlying and driving VAWG. Yet women’s rights defenders are being silenced. ActionAid’s latest findings show that women are almost twice as likely to experience violence in countries that have weaker civil rights, than in countries with a strong civil rights framework.
Supporting this finding, ActionAid’s new survey of frontline women’s rights activists found that they feel increasingly under threat, with nearly two thirds reporting a deterioration in their safety and security in the last two years.
The report emphasizes that the time is ripe for change and calls for national governments, donors and the international community to realise the commitments to eliminate violence, engage women’s organisations at the heart of strategies and ensure they are properly financed.