International Women's Day 2009
On International Women's Day 2009, The Hunger Project (THP) is proud to join with "women and men united to end violence against women and girls." As a global movement of individuals committed to the sustainable end of world hunger, THP recognizes that, in order to achieve that goal, women and men must work together, without the threat of violence, as full and equal partners.
Key Background Points
Violence against women and girls, and the threat of such violence, are manifestations of patriarchy, often compounded by cultural, economic, and other factors.
Violence against women and girls takes many forms: prenatal sex selection, female infanticide and systemic neglect (all due to son preference); practices like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); child marriage; sexual assault and rape; trafficking; harassment; and non-sexual battery.
Shocking statistics: Worldwide, one in three women suffers violence inflicted by their partner. Women aged 15 to 44 years are at a greater risk of suffering rape and other forms of domestic violence than of contending with diseases like cancer and malaria; war; or car accidents. Estimates suggest that 20 percent of women throughout the world will be raped or endure an attempted rape (UN Department of Public Information, DP/2498, February 2008).
Violence against women and girls hurts everyone: It causes immense emotional and physical pain and suffering; results in lost productivity; halts development; and fuels the spread of HIV. Simply put, violence against women takes a devastating toll on an entire society.
THP recognizes the devastating effect violence against women and girls has on development, as women in the developing world bear almost all responsibility for meeting their families' basic needs. When women are hurt, repressed, controlled and thwarted in their productivity, their families and communities suffer. Therefore, THP makes it a priority to empower women as key change agents, and to support both women and men as they discover what can be accomplished when they work together to end hunger and poverty.
Our grassroots partners have stated that, as a result, they experience less violence, particularly gender-based violence, in their families and communities. Some of our initiatives which work to empower women and girls include: The African Woman Food Farmer Initiative microfinance program and the HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Workshop in eight countries in Africa; National Girl Child Day in Bangladesh; and strengthening elected women leaders in India.
Call to Action
- Inform yourself about the prevalence of violence against women and girls and the costs of this violence, to individuals and to the world-at-large.
- Financially invest in The Hunger Project, which works to shift the mindset of women being inferior to men (a major cause of the persistence of violence against women and hunger) to a new mindset of mutual respect and cooperation.
- Examine your own actions and relationships and look to change behaviors that may in some way contribute to the persistence of violence against women or other manifestations of gender inequality.
- Talk to your friends, family and colleagues about how violence against women is thwarting development and is taking a huge human and financial toll on our world. Encourage them to learn more about the issue and support organizations, such as The Hunger Project, which work to build communities based on equality.
- Urge elected officials to support programs and initiatives that seek to empower women and girls and end violence against them.
Support courageous women leaders. Just $100 could support a training course to educate women in India about their rights.