How Violence Against Women and Girls fuels Gendered Poverty

Violence against women and girls stands as a formidable barrier to gender equality and economic empowerment. Beyond the immediate physical and psychological harm inflicted, this pervasive violence perpetuates a cycle of poverty that disproportionately affects women.

Violence against women and girls manifests in various forms, from domestic abuse and sexual assault to trafficking and harmful traditional practices. Such violence not only violates fundamental human rights but also obstructs women’s ability to participate fully in economic activities. Fear of violence restricts their mobility, limits access to education and employment opportunities, and undermines their confidence and autonomy. Consequently, women find themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty, unable to break free from the shackles of oppression.

One of the most insidious effects of violence against women is its contribution to the feminization of poverty. Women are disproportionately affected by poverty worldwide, with factors such as limited access to education, employment discrimination, and unequal pay exacerbating their economic vulnerability. Violence exacerbates this vulnerability, further entrenching women in poverty. Survivors of violence often face stigma and discrimination, making it difficult for them to secure stable employment or access financial resources. In many cases, they are forced to rely on abusive partners or enter into exploitative situations to meet their basic needs, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

Moreover, the economic repercussions of violence extend beyond individual women to entire communities and societies. Studies have shown that violence against women has significant macroeconomic costs, including lost productivity, increased healthcare expenses, and reduced GDP growth. The pervasive nature of gender-based violence undermines social cohesion and hinders progress towards sustainable development goals.

Addressing the root causes of violence against women and girls is imperative for breaking the cycle of poverty and advancing gender equality. This requires a multi-faceted approach that combines legislative reforms, robust enforcement of existing laws, and comprehensive support services for survivors. Education plays a crucial role in challenging harmful gender norms and fostering attitudes of respect and equality from an early age.

Furthermore, economic empowerment programs are essential for providing women with the skills, resources, and opportunities needed to achieve financial independence and break free from the cycle of poverty. This includes initiatives such as microfinance, vocational training, and entrepreneurship support, which enable women to generate income and build assets on their own terms.

These issues and more are explored in the season finale of our podcast series: Episode 7 – Yasmin Khan.

At the heart of these efforts lies the need for a shift in societal attitudes and norms that perpetuate violence and inequality. Men and boys must be engaged as allies in the fight against gender-based violence, challenging traditional notions of masculinity and promoting healthy, equitable relationships. By fostering a culture of respect and solidarity, we can create a world where women and girls are free from violence and empowered to realise their full potential.

Meet our grant partners who are working to support victims of Violence Against Women and Girls:

Useful links: WBG Funding Report

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