BRECKSVILLE, Ohio — Gender violence is rising since 2020. Women all around the globe are seeking to change systems that allow gender violence to continue, but even women seeking change are not exempt from violence. According to U.N. Women, 82% of female parliamentarians reported psychological violence while serving their terms. Additionally, 44% of women in parliaments reported social media as “the main channel of this type of violence” and 65% reported receiving sexist remarks from male colleagues in parliaments. Despite this, there are women fighting gender violence, looking for a change and starting to make a difference in domestic violence and other gender-based problems that prevent girls from reaching their full potential.
The UN’s Report
The U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) annual Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) published a report that warns of crises. Gender-based violence and development (SDG 5) amongst others, have seen a loss of progress.
Foreign help can only go so far and by women lobbying, studying and spreading awareness in their own countries/areas of high gender violence and inequality, girls can see a more relatable way to achieve equality. Women fighting gender violence are aiming to make up for these disparities and continuing to reach for the 2030 SDG of the U.N. Leaders and women are paving their own paths to success. By focusing on their own nation’s goals for equality and violence prevention, women are able to break cycles and stigmas from within and create the potential for effective change.
The World Bank Simplifies Change
This seemingly colossal goal is attainable in small steps, and individual women are making a change for the generations to come. “A woman is beaten every 30 seconds in Papua New Guinea and more than 1.5 million people experience gender-based violence in the country each year,” according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Women make themselves heard to give each other access to more opportunities to change policies and create better ways to regulate gender violence. Ms. Joseph suggests a grouplike solution “We need to look at leadership as something that is related to where you are and the space you come from. You draw in a community. That, I believe, is how we can create a parliament one day that has more women.”
By communicating and advocating, educational efforts could force leaders to look at change and to follow popular public opinion. By stopping and rerouting the problem from its source, the law and government, those perpetuating gender violence receive punishment and preventable policy could pave a future of equality. Women must recognize problems and fight to change them at their source for better violence recognition and equality increases. These women are doing just that.
Jacqui Joseph and Equal Playing Field
The program works on educating and empowering youth in schools to address gender inequality, child abuse and family violence. The programs’ studies show that after working in a school, 75% of students said there was less violence. Its goal is to create respectful relationships with individuals to create community approaches to end gender-based violence.
Ms. Joseph said in her interview with The World Bank, “Systems around us need to better support women and we need to hold those systems accountable. If people aren’t doing their job, then my responsibility lies in building a generation that is going to hold leaders accountable.”
“In our journey with Equal Playing Field, we’ve looked at the problem, we find the gaps and then try things out,” she explains in the interview. Any progress is progress and one step at a time, inequality lessens. By taking leadership, women fighting gender violence like her can continue to make strides in achieving gender equality.
Dr. Fiona Hukula
The Pacific Island Forum, an international policy organization group, holds a vast majority of regional power in the area and helps implement frameworks to tackle issues in the Pacific. Women fighting gender violence need to find leadership in governmental organizations like this to help take leading roles in addressing the problem. By giving personal perspectives and placing gender violence as a priority justice can be better served for pacific women.
In The World Bank’s interview with Dr. Hukula says, “For example, PNG has been independent for nearly 50 years, however, the criminal justice system doesn’t reach enough people, especially women. That’s where the informal justice system works in tandem with the criminal justice system to deal with gender-based violence.”
By researching for an organization with a regional power, Dr. Hukula is able to get her advocacy to pacific leaders and aid millions of women fighting gender violence in Oceania. At the 2021 Annual Pacific Update, she gave a keynote speech aimed at better coordinating regional “gender commitments, government programs, policies, decision making, economic empowerment, ending violence against women, health and education.”
This true leader in gender equality believes that education is key and in her interview with the World Bank advises that “We [people]need to share and work together to achieve the greater goal of equality for women and girls.”
Women who are showing what it takes to be a female leader, are inspiring young women to join the fight against gender violence in the form of education and advocacy. Gender violence research could address world leaders and address younger generations to fight for equality today and in the future.
– Karen Krosky