UN Women - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

16 Steps Policy Agenda

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, this year, Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet outlines a comprehensive policy agenda to end violence against women globally. Focusing on the three critical pillars of prevention, protection and provision of services, Ms. Bachelet’s call for action, urges world leaders to mobilize political will and investment to ensure that women can live a life without violence.

Download the Comprehensive Policy Agenda in other languages : AR, EN, FR, RU, ES, ZH

1. Ratify international and regional treaties …
that protect the rights of women and girls, and ensure that national laws and services meet international human rights standards.

2. Adopt and enforce laws …
to end impunity, bring perpetrators of violence against women and girls to justice and provide women with reparations and remedy for the violations perpetrated against them.

3. Develop national and local action plans …
for ending violence against women and girls in every country that bring the government, women’s and other civil society organizations, the mass media and the private sector into a coordinated, collective front against such human rights violations.

4. Make justice accessible to women and girls …
by providing free legal and specialized services, and increasing women in law enforcement and frontline services.

5. End impunity towards conflict-related sexual violence …
by prosecuting perpetrators in conflict and post-conflict contexts and fulfilling survivors’ right to comprehensive reparations programmes that are non-stigmatizing and have a transformative impact on women and girls’ lives.

6. Ensure universal access to critical services …
at a minimum, women’s and girls’ emergency and immediate needs should be met through free 24-hour hotlines, prompt intervention for their safety and protection, safe housing and shelter for them and their children, counseling and psycho-social support, post-rape care, and free legal aid to understand their rights and options.

7. Train providers of frontline services …
especially the police, lawyers and judges, social workers and health personnel to ensure that they follow quality standards and protocols. Services should be confidential, sensitive and convenient to women survivors.

8. Provide adequate public resources…
to implement existing laws and policies, recognizing the devastating costs and consequences of violence against women not only for the lives directly affected, but to society and the economy at large, and to public budgets.

9. Collect, analyze and disseminate national data…
on prevalence, causes and consequences of violence against women and girls, profiles of survivors and perpetrators, and progress and gaps in the implementation of national policies, plans and laws.

  • Gender-based violence study in Morocco reveals that approximately 60 percent of Moroccan women have experienced some form of violence recently, and violence against women is three times more likely in urban areas than in rural ones.
  • Together for Girls, a global effort to prevent sexual violence against girls, of which UN Women is a partner, makes an urgent call for national surveys. The alarming finding in Swaziland—one-third of girls have experienced sexual violence—spurred a national education campaign, strengthening of the capacity of police to respond to sexual violence, and the establishment of a child-friendly court. For more information about Together for Girls, click here.
  • Access data on prevalence, laws and more at Progress of the World’s Women  and Violence against Women Prevalence Data: Surveys by Country.

10. Invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment …
to tackle the root causes of violence against women and girls. Strategic areas are girls’ secondary education, advancing women’s reproductive health and rights, addressing the inter-linkages of violence with HIV and AIDS, and increasing women’s political and economic participation and leadership. Gender equality and ending violence against women must be placed squarely at the heart of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

  • Up to three quarters of women and girls worldwide experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. The MDGs and Gender Series cautions, unless violence against women is curbed, meeting all of the eight Millennium Development Goals will be impossible.

11. Enhance women’s economic empowerment …
by ensuring women’s rights to own land and property, to inheritance, equal pay for equal work, and safe and decent employment. Women’s unequal economic and employment opportunities are a major factor in perpetuating their entrapment in situations of violence, exploitation and abuse.

  • In a land torn apart by years of bitter conflict, the daily struggle to survive is an ongoing battle. Feeding the family is a constant challenge. Bread Winner, Bread Maker tells the story of some inspirational women who are bringing hope to thousands in the occupied Palestinian territory.
  • Millions of women work overseas each year and endure abuse and exploitation. On the Move: Nepal’s Women Migrant Workers fight for their rights.

12. Increase public awareness and social mobilization …
to stop violence against women and girls, and to enable women and girls subjected to violence to break the silence and seek justice and support.

  • With over 2 million actions and 600 partners, Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women offers a global platform for information, action and social mobilization. Visit www.saynotoviolence.org and post your action today!

13. Engage the mass media …
in shaping public opinion and challenging the harmful gender norms that perpetuate violence against women and girls.

14. Work for and with young people as champions of change …
to end violence against women, and ensure that educational systems empower girls and boys to transform and build gender relations based on harmony, mutual respect and non-violence.

15. Mobilize men and boys …
of all ages and walks of life to take a stand against violence against women and girls, and foster equality and gender solidarity.

16. Donate to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women …
the only grant-making fund in the world exclusively dedicated to channeling expertise and financial support to national, local and grassroots efforts.

  • It’s the 15th anniversary of the UN Trust Fund—since its establishment, the UN Trust Fund has supported 339 programmes in 127 countries and territories, relying on voluntary contributions. Please help us make the world a safer place for women and girls by sending a donation today!