ISLAMABAD: A new research brief with estimates on gender-related killings of women and girls, produced by two UN agencies, shows that globally nearly 89,000 women and girls were killed intentionally in 2022, the highest yearly number recorded in the past two decades, indicating that the number of female homicides is not decreasing.

Most killings of women and girls are gender motivated. In 2022, 55pc of the intentional killings of women (around 48,800) were committed by intimate partners or other family members. This means that, on average, more than 133 women or girls were killed every day by someone in their own family.

The report was released ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women being observed on Saturday.

UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, in a message called for bold investments to end violence against women.

86pc women live in countries which have no law against violence

Another report released by UN Women shows prevention of violence against women is severely under-funded. In 2022, countries around the world spent $204 billion in overseas development assistance — of that sizable sum, only one-fifth of one per cent was spent on preventing gender-based violence (GBV).

The report, “The state of funding for the prevention of gender-based violence against women and girls” reveals a concerning reality: gender-based violence, an issue of alarming proportion, garners only 0.2pc of global aid and development funding.

The report says over the five-year period of 2018-2023, it is estimated that donors have invested an average of approximately $ 410 million per year in GBV prevention ($2.06bn in total). This level of funding is not currently sufficient to deliver the high-quality, evidence-based prevention programming and policies that will have an impact across entire populations, report emphasised.

When compared to other areas of ODA spending, prevention of GBV sits low on the list of priorities for donors. In 2021 alone, $14.38bn was spent on health, $10.12bn on education, $1.84bn on social protection and $4.14bn on environment protection in aid and development, it says.

The report comes as the world kicks off the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, from 25 Nov to 10 December, under the global theme set by the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign, “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls”

UN Women’s Gender Snapshot 2023 report reveals that 245m women and girls continue to face physical and/or sexual violence from their intimate partners each year. A staggering 86pc of women and girls live in countries without robust legal protections against violence, or in countries where data are not available.

Additionally, the impacts of economic crises, conflicts, and climate change have heightened the vulnerability of women and girls to violence.

UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous says: “It is time to get serious and fund what we know works to stop violence against women and girls.’’

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2023

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