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Accelerating Action to End Violence against Women and Girls in Africa

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Document pages: 6 pages

Abstract: Violence against women is increasingly recognized as a threat to democracy, a barrier to lasting peace, a burden on national economies, an impediment to sustainable development and an appalling human rights violation. Governments and actors in the field of gender violence underscore that violence against women and girls is the manifestation of structural inequalities embedded in social and cultural norms and practices. Actors have employed various strategies to mitigate against VAW. Some of these strategies include advocacy for policies, laws and resources; capacity building for a wide range of service providers; empowering women to assert their rights and demand accountability and coordination of actions by actors in Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls - EVAWG programming. Outcomes of processes on the MDGs and now Sustainable development goals, both at regional and global underscore the need for ending violence against women and girls as a major obstacle to achieving gender equality, women’s empowerment and other internationally agreed development goals. The 57th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held in March 2013 on the topic Preventing and Responding to Violence against Women and Girls, the Milenium Development Goals - MDG Reviews - including the 58th CSW Session, have provided strong policy momentum, lessons learnt and best practices to build on in addressing the scourge of VAWGs globally and in Africa. Gender Equality was central to the discussions and reflected in the draft Declaration of the Accra Conference on Equalities (April 2014), with mention of EVAW G as one indicator. Processes towards the Beijing Platform for Action and ICPD 2015 reviews are providing further opportunities for renewed consensus and global commitments to making VAWGs an issue of the past and forging more equal, respectful and peaceful societies. Despite all efforts, however, VAWG is still endemic. Worst still, VAWGs is socially tolerated and justified in many countries. For instance, in Ethiopia, according to the 2011 EDHS, two of every three women (68 percent) and one of every two men (45 percent) believe that wife beating is justified under specific circumstances. This therefore beckons for more well thought innovative and or improved strategies at global, regional, national and local levels to address VAWG.

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