Case study

Gender violence in Pakistan

Today marks the end of "16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence" - an awareness raising campaign which runs each year from 25 November, International Day Against Violence Against Women, up to 10 December, International Human Rights Day.

Video: Awareness raising film produced by the DFID-supported Gender Justice and Protection project in Pakistan


16 days of activisim

According to the United Nations, 1 in 3 women globally has suffered from gender violence. 

Today marks the end of “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” - a UN awareness raising campaign which runs each year from 25 November (International Day Against Violence Against Women) up to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). 

Violence against women in Pakistan

The issue is particularly acute in Pakistan where over 4,500 women were victims of violence in the first half of 2009 alone.  Yet this figure only hints at the full picture of physical abuse in the country.  The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimates that a woman is raped every two hours, a gang rape occurs every eight hours, and about 1,000 women die annually in honour killings.

Most of the violence against women, particularly in the domestic sphere, goes unreported. Approximately 70-90% of Pakistani women in rural areas are subjected to domestic violence.  Typical acts include murder, rape, acid attacks and burning.

Video: Acid Survivors Foundation - Bushra’s story


What DFID is doing to tackle violence against women in Pakistan

DFID is currently supporting the Gender Justice and Protection project administered by the UNDP - a 5 year £2.5 million programme on tackling violence against women. The project aims to broaden the impact of the 16 Days campaign and create an enabling environment for gender equality, empowerment and the participation of women and other disadvantaged groups in development initiatives.

The challenge

Although concrete steps have been taken, legislation alone is not enough. The key challenge is to change mindsets, making violence against women a socially intolerable crime. We need to tackle the root causes, change attitudes and behaviours.

Government, civil society, media, the private sector and international bodies must work together to face this challenge head on.

DFID’s other work on gender equality in Pakistan

DFID is committed to gender equality, women’s empowerment and tackling violence against women.

In the conflict-affected areas of Pakistan, DFID has provided £22m in humanitarian aid with a focus on women and special protection measures to prevent and address abuse and exploitation of women in IDP camps.

In the past, DFID has supported specific stand-alone initiatives on women’s empowerment including the Gender Equality Project and the Gender Support Programme.

Early this year DFID launched a new regional programme focusing on boys and men to prevent violence and finding innovative ways of involving them in gender equality programmes and policies. The UN Partners for Prevention Programme is working with civil society organisations in South Asia, and with UN agencies to improve evidence, influence policy, build capacity, and facilitate advocacy and public communications and awareness.

DFID will also establish a new South Asia Gender Equality Fund which will bring together the best policy, research and evidence in South Asia to tackle the root causes of gender inequality across the region.

Updates to this page

Published 10 December 2010