Money Not the Answer to Violence Against Women

LaPrincipessa's picture

The UN has announced it will spend $10.5 million to combat violence against women across the globe.

At first glance, this may seem like a lot of money-not only a lot of money but a lot of money for a very worthy cause. This article fromMs. Magazine Online

cites the statistic that roughly 70% of women worldwide experience violence from a partner within their lifetime.

According to the CIA World Factbook, there are 6,790,062,216 (July 2009 est.) people in the world. Out of this number, there are 3,377,071,728 women (2009 est.). 

Estimates state that 2,363,950,210 women are abused during their lifetime and now the UN pledges $10,500,000 to fight it, spending roughly $225.13 dollars per woman. The UN has not released any details about how this money will be allocated.


Although the attention to violence against women that a pledge of 'millions of dollars' receives, it is apparent that the $10.5 million will not accomplish any significant goal. This is because A decrease in violence against women requires a shift in our world's perception of women, not a donation of money.UNICEF

purports the causes of violence against women to lie within the social landscape.

Several complex and interconnected institutionalized social and cultural factors have kept women particularly vulnerable to the violence directed at them, all of them manifestations of historically unequal power relations between men and women. Factors contributing to these unequal power relations include: socioeconomic forces, the family institution where power relations are enforced, fear of and control over female sexuality, belief in the inherent superiority of males, and legislation and cultural sanctions that have traditionally denied women and children an independent legal and social status

Estimates state that the cost of violence against women to society, in the United States alone, is $1 billion dollars annually. This includes medical, police, justice system and housing costs. In the non-monetary sense, the costs to society are the increased instance of alcohol and drug abuse and depressive disorders.


, the costs are more difficult to quantify but no less important:

...decreased labour market participation, reduced productivity on the job, lower earnings, increased absenteeism, intergenerational productivity impacts via grade repetition and lower education attainment of children, decreased investment and saving and capital flight.

My intent has not been to disparage the effort of the UN. Indeed, I believe any effort to combat violence against women to be necessary and I am grateful. However, the apparent lack of acknowledgement of the complex social, cultural, economic and political causes and solution to violence against women is alarming and perhaps, in some small way, a part of the problem itself.


(Posted at Women Undefined)

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