International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – 25th November 2011

They hold up half the sky but yet there is much discrimination, marginalisation and violence against women and girls.

The INEE has put together the following notes and resources with which to recognise the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Violence against women is a pandemic problem that cuts across countries, socio-economic status, age, and ethnicity. Statistics depict a terrible reality, in which one out of three women has been a victim of violence at least once in her lifetime (United Nations). Violence against women takes many forms, ranging from physical to sexual, psychological and economic violence. In emergency and fragile contexts, where the breakdown of law and social support systems increase insecurity and impunity, pre-existing discriminations may culminate more easily in violence against women (UNFPA).

In 1999 the United Nations designated the 25th of November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, urging governments, international organizations and NGOs to raise public awareness on this global issue. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.

However, the reality is that schools are not always safehavens of child-oriented activity, safety andsecurity for children and youth affected by crisis. Gender-violence in an around schools is a worldwide problem with serious implications for the educational attainment, health, and well-being of girls and boys. Unfortunately, a growing body of evidence suggests that sexual harassment, violence and exploitation by male students and teachers is widespread in educational settings in many parts of the world, especially in humanitarian and developing contexts (USAID).

Adolescent girls in emergency situations are especially vulnerable to gender-based violence. They are often mistakenly classified with young children or adults, even though their needs are very different. Existing sex- and age-related power disparities may become more prominent, increasing the risks of rape, coercion into sex work, abduction by armed groups, sexual exploitation and abuse at the hands of humanitarian workers, early marriage, and trafficking. The additional financial, household and childcare burdens that adolescent girls take on in emergency situation often renders them less-visible to humanitarian workers and hinders their access to educational opportunities.

Efforts are being made to address this crisis in a number of ways, including the implementation of minimum standards, teacher training and awareness raising, codes of conduct for teachers, and ‘safe school’ guidelines. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure not only that girls have equal access to the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial protection that education can provide, but also that the content and processes of education in such circumstances meet the needs and priorities of girls and women as well as boys and men.

INEE and Gender

INEE has worked to include gender as a cross-cutting issue in its work and good practice tools and to incorporate strategies to prevent and respond to gender violence including the following:

To order hard copies of INEE materials click here.

In light of these initiatives, the INEE Gender Task Team decided to dedicate this month’s Task Team update to a spotlight on violence against women and girls in emergency settings. Our goal is to raise awareness about the challenges facing women and girls within the context of education in emergencies, and to share relevant new initiatives, tools, and research with the wider INEE membership. On November 25th the INEE Gender Task Team will launch its Facebook page through which we will share information, updates and resources throughout the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.


Education and Gender Based Violence

Schools and education can play a major role in preventing, mitigating and responding to violence against women and girls. Behavioral, cognitive and emotional change can take place in an inclusive learning space. Human rights education can help boys and girls become aware of their rights and how to attain them. In addition, schools can represent a safe place where women and girls can access medical and psychosocial support and learn skills that may help them avoid abuse.


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