Innovation and prevention of violence against women

The United Nations set an ambitious target under the fifth Sustainable Development Goal: to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG)  by 2030. Yet the current pace of progress is insufficient. 

Meeting that 2030 goal will require innovation, which is defined as “new or improved ways of working with the transformative ability to accelerate impact”.  This will involve pursuing ‘incremental innovation’ – strategies that can firstly, improve our ability to target programmes effectively and adapt them to changing circumstances; secondly strengthen the impact of existing initiatives; and thirdly, deliver evidence-based strategies at a broader scale. 

A focus on innovation gives practitioners the tools and vocabulary to stretch beyond the comfort of best practice, strengthen the dynamic cycle of evidence generation and grow the field. In this way, novel ideas will start to become supported by evidence and scale, and then themselves become the new reference points for further advancements. 

There are many opportunities for VAWG prevention innovators to incorporate small (or large) changes that yield improved results. This knowledge brief aims to inspire and encourage policymakers, activists, practitioners and researchers as they ask themselves how innovation may better fit into and strengthen their work to prevent VAWG. It offers a goal-based working definition of innovation, describing promising innovative approaches through examples and making the case for further advancements, without compromising ethical and safety standards or evidence generation. 

Bibliographic information

Resource type(s): Briefs Case studies
UN Women office publishing: UN Women Headquarters
Number of pages