Campaign for women’s rights

Najiba helps domestic violence survivors in Afghanistan

Najiba works as a paralegal in Afghanistan. After seeing first-hand the effects of forced marriage, she joined ActionAid’s paralegal programme so she could support the women around her:

“It upset me a lot and I decided to work for them though I had little knowledge on women and girls rights and empowerment.

“Being a woman, it was really a hard job to go outside and meet with women who faced mammoth intricacies and obstacles. I repeatedly visited their home and let them know about their basic rights as human beings.”

Now Najiba runs a women’s shelter in rural Afghanistan. Despite receiving death threats for her work, she has helped more than 100 victims of domestic violence. She told us that more needs to be done to protect women:

“All the laws that exist to protect women – none of them are being implemented. The international community should monitor whether the laws are being followed. They can’t just give us words.”

Why is violence against women and girls such a problem?

A third of all women and girls face violence in their lifetime. It's one of the most widespread violations of human rights, and it robs women of control over their bodies and lives. This doesn't just hold back the women it affects - it holds back their families and communities too. Women living in poverty and those facing other forms of discrimination are often at even greater risk.

Did you know?

In 2012, 43,6001  women were killed by their partners or close family

$9 trillion
Discrimination in the workplace costs women in poor countries an estimated $9 trillion2  every year

31 million
An estimated 31 million girls3  are out of school

How do we end violence against women?

Violence against women is preventable. Research shows the vital work of independent women's rights organisations is the single most effective way to create the real change that will bring down violence against women.4 These organisations are critical drivers of women's movements and wider social movements, with extensive knowledge and experience in ending gender discrimination and creating positive changes in women’s lives.

But they are critically underfunded, receiving just less than 1% of UK aid funds committed for gender equality.

We recognise the crucial role that these organisations play, and we work with them in many countries to provide funding, training and support. We fight for more funding for these groups from donors and governments, so that they can do what they do best: bring down violence against women, for good.

What can I do to end violence against women?

Right now we're campaigning for a world where women and girls who survive violence can access justice. Side with survivors and campaign to fix the broken justice systems that protect abusers and punish women.

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Top image: Campaigners challenge gender stereotypes by celebrating new-born girls in Bhalswa, New Delhi. Poulomi Basu/ActionAid

Page updated 3 August 2022