Violence against women ‘serious obstacle’ to development – UN

Ugo Okoro, Hajia Sani

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for “meaningful” action to prevent and respond to violence against women, saying that is not only a human rights violation but also a serious obstacle to sustainable development.

“Violence against women and girls imposes large-scale costs on families, communities and economies,” Secretary-General Ban said in his message on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Mr. Ban explained that when women cannot work as a result of violence, their employment could be put at risk, jeopardizing much-needed income, autonomy and their ability to leave abusive relationships.

He added that the violence also results in lost productivity for businesses, and drains resources from social services, the justice system and health-care agencies. The net result “is enormous suffering as well as the exclusion of women from playing their full and rightful roles in society,” he stressed.

“The world cannot afford to pay this price. Women and girls cannot afford it – and should not have to,” he highlighted, adding: “Yet such violence persists every day, around the world.”

But efforts to address such violence, while having strong political commitment, suffer from lack of resources, including funding.