OECD Development Centre Issues Paper on violence against women

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Transforming social institutions to prevent violence against women and girls and improve development outcomes

The OECD Development Centre released an Issues Paper in March 2013 ahead of the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and International Women's Day 2013. The paper was presented and discussed at a side event on 4 March 2013 in New York, co-hosted by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the South African Ministry of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD) and the OECD Development Centre.

About the Issues Paper

This issues paper begins with an overview of the SIGI data on violence against women setting out regional patterns, changes in laws and the relationship between attitudes and prevalence of violence. The second section explores how violence against women is related to development outcomes such as HIV and child mortality. The final section provides an overview of policy recommendations to transform discriminatory social institutions to prevent violence against women and girls.

Key messages

  • Reducing violence against women matters for development. Adolescent girls are twice as likely as boys to be infected with HIV in countries where there is

no domestic violence law, compared to having similar rates in countries where there is a specific law.

  • Laws alone will not reduce violence against women. Discriminatory attitudes are significantly related to the prevalence of domestic violence, even when

taking into account the existence and quality of domestic violence laws.

  • Governments should introduce a combination of measures to change discriminatory social norms including implementation and enforcement of laws;

public awareness and community mobilisation programmes; and economic support for women and incentives.

Did you know?

For the countries scored in the 2012 SIGI, on average around 1 in 2 women believe domestic violence is justified in certain circumstances. Breaking the results down by region:

  • MENA has the most discriminatory attitudes, with an average of 60% of women believing that domestic violence is justified in certain circumstances.
  • SSA follows closely with an average of 57%.
  • LAC has the least discriminatory attitudes, with an average of 12%, with the limitation that data is available for only eight countries in the region.

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