At World Vision, we have learned that promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment is core to effective and sustainable development. Lack of gender equality can be damaging, not only to girls and women, but to their entire societies.
Gender inequality and gender-based violence cost everyone. One in every three women will be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Little boys may come of age, seeing this happening to their mothers and sisters. The cycle can easily perpetuate. In its extreme form, gender-based violence manifests through crimes such as rape and honour killing, and brutal cultural practices such as female genital mutilation and early marriage. In cases where girls and women are harmed or killed, an entire family can be dramatically impacted by the event.
But gender-based violence also manifests in subtler and even more pervasive ways, such as restriction of action and opinion, and control over choices and resources. When a girl is kept away from school, she may not have the support she needs to challenge these approaches and almost nowhere to turn for help in a crisis.