The Fight Against Gender-Based Violence: Global Efforts and Challenges

A look into the worldwide efforts to combat gender-based violence and the complexities involved in addressing this pervasive issue.


11/18/20232 min read

woman with hands tied
woman with hands tied

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a profound and widespread problem across the world, affecting women and girls in every society. It is a complex issue rooted in gender inequality, social norms, and economic structures. This article delves into the global efforts to combat GBV, the challenges faced, and the strategies employed in different contexts to address this pervasive issue.

Understanding Gender-Based Violence

Gender-based violence encompasses a wide range of human rights violations, including sexual violence, domestic abuse, trafficking, and harmful traditional practices like female genital mutilation and child marriage. It stems from deeply entrenched societal norms that devalue women and girls and reinforce male dominance and control. GBV not only causes immediate physical and psychological harm to individuals but also has long-term impacts on communities and societies at large.

Global Efforts: Policies and Programs

Efforts to address GBV have been part of the global agenda for decades, with significant movements gaining momentum since the 1990s. The United Nations' Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (1993) was a landmark step, providing a framework for governments to act against GBV. Subsequent initiatives, like the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) and the Sustainable Development Goals (2015), have further emphasized the need to eliminate GBV.

Countries worldwide have adopted various policies and legal frameworks to address GBV. These include enacting laws against domestic violence, sexual harassment, and trafficking, establishing shelters and hotlines for survivors, and launching awareness campaigns.

Challenges in Combating GBV

Despite these efforts, eradicating GBV remains a significant challenge due to several factors:

1. Cultural and Social Norms: In many societies, GBV is normalized, and victims are often stigmatized. Changing these deep-rooted norms is a lengthy and complex process.

2. Legal and Institutional Barriers: Weak legal frameworks, lack of enforcement, and limited access to justice prevent survivors from seeking help and holding perpetrators accountable.

3. Economic Dependencies: Many victims of GBV are economically dependent on their abusers, making it difficult for them to leave abusive situations.

4. Lack of Data and Research: Insufficient data on GBV hampers the development of effective policies and programs.

Innovative Strategies and Success Stories

Despite these challenges, innovative strategies have shown promise in combating GBV:

- Community-Based Interventions: Engaging communities in dialogue and education about GBV has been effective in changing attitudes and behaviors.

- Empowering Women Economically: Programs that enhance women's economic independence, such as microfinance and job training, have helped reduce their vulnerability to violence.

- Technology and Advocacy: The use of technology, including mobile apps and social media campaigns, has increased awareness and provided new platforms for support and advocacy.

- Holistic and Survivor-Centric Approaches: Programs that offer comprehensive support, including legal aid, counseling, and healthcare, have been crucial in helping survivors rebuild their lives.

Moving Forward

The fight against GBV requires a coordinated global response. It necessitates the involvement of various stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, community leaders, and individuals. Continued efforts to challenge and change societal norms, strengthen legal and institutional frameworks, and support survivors are critical.

The journey ahead is challenging, but with sustained efforts and global solidarity, progress is possible. Recognizing GBV as not just a women's issue but a societal one is the first step toward a world free from gender-based violence. This fight is about creating a future where respect, equality, and safety are the rights of every individual, regardless of gender.