Saturday, March 14, 2015

Uniting Our Voices Against Violence: A Bottom Up Approach to Equipping Women and Girls in Their Communities

The session “Uniting Our Voices Against Violence: A Bottom Up Approach to Equipping Women and Girls in Their Communities” was held at the Church Center of the United Nations on March 12, 2015. This session was sponsored by Soroptimist International, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, and the World YWCA.

The six panelists in the session identified violence in various forms, such as unemployment, low wage, and women trafficking. In 2015, 15% of women experienced sexual or physical violence. Women can become subjects of violence because often times they have no choice but to comply with men in order to get food. Other reasons include: unbalanced power between men and women, vulnerability of women, manipulation, sexual abuse, and gender discrimination in environments, such as communities, homes, workplaces, etc. The panelists elaborated on the issue of women empowerment. Prevention was recognized as crucial to women's empowerment, and education was considered as a basic solution for women to learn about their rights. Many of the panelists recommended non-formal education with curriculum that uses stories about girls, so that the girls recognize their rights and become powerful agents for change. Many panelists also pointed out that not only girls, but also boys, need to be educated on girls’ rights so that both boys and girls become agents for change in their communities. The panelists also realized that sometimes women whose rights are violated are reluctant to ask for help from women's organizations. As a result, the panelists believe that civil society and NGOs need to take steps to fight against violence. NGOs can partner with governments to create a network that reaches large audiences of boys, girls, and families. Networking among the women and organizations should become strong. To sum up, prevention is the key to physical, psychological, and economical violence against women.

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