Britain today calls on the international community to take real action in tackling violence against women, ahead of a pivotal United Nations meeting which will focus on global efforts to end all forms of abuse.
The UK’s Development Secretary, Justine Greening, has highlighted the need for action in the run up to this year’s UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
The Commission of the Status of Women is an annual meeting of global policy-makers, focussed on gender equality and advancement of women.
The 2013 meeting in New York - which begins on 4 March - will focus on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.
In a letter to Michelle Bachelet, the Executive Director of UN Women, Ms Greening is clear that this year’s global meeting is a key opportunity to achieve agreement to end all violence against women and girls, and the culture of impunity associated with it.
She warns that the failure of last year’s session to agree any conclusions must not be repeated and that the international community has a responsibility to send a clear signal of support to women and girls around the world.
Discrimination and violence against women remains one of the most widespread human rights abuses. According to the United Nations, one in three women or girls around the world has been beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:
Last year saw many horrendous incidents of violence against women and girls around the world. International action is more important than ever.
With the Commission on the Status of Women and G8 this year, we have a key opportunity for the international community to work together to tackle this issue once and for all.
The call comes as the UK announced the start of 14 new programmes that will give hundreds of thousands of poor girls the chance to receive quality education.
Educated women are less likely to accept domestic violence and more likely to feel empowered to take charge of their own lives.
The new projects will give 550,000 girls who have had little or no opportunity to go to school the long-term education they need.
The programmes mark the first phase of the Girls’ Education Challenge - a fund to support girls from the most deprived communities in Africa and Afghanistan.
Justine Greening added:
You cannot build strong economies, open societies and inclusive political systems without women, effectively missing out half your population.
That’s why our focus on Girls’ Education is so important. It’s an investment in girls but also in their communities.
In total, the Girls’ Education Challenge will help up to 1 million of the world’s poorest girls to improve their lives through education in 22 focus countries.
The UK government has prioritised girls’ education as one of the four pillars of its Women and Girls Strategy.
In September 2011, the Deputy Prime Minister announced the Girls’ Education Challenge - the largest ever global fund dedicated to girls’ education - calling on NGOs, charities and the private sector to find better ways of getting girls in school and ensuring they receive a quality of education to transform their future.