World YWCA Statement on 2010 International Women's Day
World YWCA Statement on International Women's Day 2010
March 8, 2010
Empowering Communities to end poverty and violence against women by 2015
"Some young women understand that violence against women is unacceptable, but many others are financially reliant on the men who abuse them." This revealing comment was just one of many heard from women and young women participants of the World YWCA Regional Training Institutes held in 2009 on 'Women Creating a Safe World'.
With women representing 70 percent of the world's poor (UNIFEM 2008), poverty has a female face and renders them more vulnerable to violence. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime (UNIFEM 2008). Violence against women is a global human rights violation and women and girls are susceptible to abuse and violence at every stage of their lives; enhancing their risk of plunging further into poverty.
The impact of violence is devastating for not only women and girls, but also communities in general. It encompasses but is not limited to, physical, sexual and physiological violence, including battering, sexual abuse, dowry-related violence, marital rape, trafficking in women and forced prostitution, labour migration, female genital mutilation and other harmful traditional practises.
Women may bear the brunt of globalisation's drawbacks and violence; however they are also the world's greatest untapped resource for turning the tide on economic justice. Research has shown women are more likely to repay loans in full and on time than men. It is established evidence that giving a woman access to primary education will ensure her entire family receives better health care and nutrition. This indicates that providing equal access to education, credit, property and employment for women will ensure economic justice and sustainability for all.
While the World YWCA makes its own contributions through programmes on VAW, SRHR and HIV, development, literacy and gender inequality, the movement continues to call for accountability and commitment towards actions that invest in women and girls.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) cannot be achieved without ensuring commitments contained in the Convention of Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) are also fulfilled. The BPFA can and should be used as a yardstick for evaluating the MDGs and the attainment of gender equality. Together with CEDAW and other international instruments, the goals represent a wider human rights obligation on which YWCAs can call governments to account.
Empowering communities to end poverty and violence against women by 2015 requires a global mobilisation like no other, and it calls upon all sectors to partner with governments to achieve these targets. Everybody has a duty to promote the economic empowerment of women that remove communities and countries from cycles of poverty and violence.
The World YWCA understands that a genuinely Christian perspective is against all forms of violence against women. We can no longer live in a world where women and girls remain in violent relationships to avoid a life of poverty.
We will continue to empower women and young women to end poverty and violence, thus creating a safe world for all.
The World YWCA is a global network of women and young women leading social and economic change in 125 countries. It advocates for peace, justice, human rights and care of the environment, and has been at the forefront of raising the status of women for over a century. The World YWCA develops women's leadership to find local solutions to the global inequalities women face. Each year, it reaches more than 25 million women and girls through work in over 22,000 communities.