Destined to fail? How violence against women is undoing development

Women in Congo - violence against women

1 in 3 women will be subject to violence at some time in their lives. It's a global scandal.

Violence against women is one of the most widespread human rights abuses in the world. It affects women in all countries and is a leading cause of death and disability among women of all ages. And it costs: even the most conservative estimates show that violence against women costs countries billions of pounds.

We cannot afford to ignore the impact of violence against women on individuals and on whole societies. It is an abuse of rights, drains public resources, undermines human capital and lowers economic productivity. Half of the world is unable to fully meet the challenges of the day because they are fighting for their safety.

Women's rights across the world

Violence against women undermines all of our development efforts:

  • Education: 60 million girls are sexually assaulted at or on their way to school every year
  • Maternal health: up to 5% of women report being physically abused while pregnant
  • Child health: in Pakistan & India, girls have a 30-50% higher chance of dying before they turn 5 than boys
  • HIV and AIDS: women are up to three times more likely to be living with HIV if they have experienced violence
  • Conflict: 250-500,000 women and girls were raped in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda
  • Governance: 26% of women candidates faced violence in Nepal’s 2008 elections.

How the UK can address violence against women

As global groundbreakers in international development, the UK government can influence others and lead a new approach to violence against women. 

The UK can make a real difference by:

  • Putting women rights at the heart of its foreign policy
  • Appointing a Minister to be responsible for global violence against women.