Global March

International Women’s Day: Time to Stop Violence Against Children and Women

8 March 2013 - This year the United Nation’s theme for International Women’s Day is: ‘A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.’ For millions of girls and women, violence is more than an ‘observance’, it is the harsh reality of everyday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his message on International Women’s Day said, “As we commemorate International Women’s Day, we must look back on a year of shocking crimes of violence against women and girls and ask ourselves how to usher in a better future. One young woman was gang-raped to death. Another committed suicide out of a sense of shame that should have attached to the perpetrators. Young teens were shot at close range for daring to seek an education.”

Consider this:

  • Girls 12 -17 make up over 90% of workers - the most common form of child labour.
  • Worldwide 88 million girls aged 5-17 years are working as child labourers.
  • 32 million of the 61 million out of school primary aged children are girls.
  • In 11 countries, 9 out of 10 of the poorest young women have not completed primary education.
  • Women and girls are 80 percent of the people trafficked across national borders annually, many for commercial sexual exploitation, forced labour including domestic servitude.
  • Worldwide, between 15% and 76% of women are targeted for physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • Approximately 100 to 140 million girls and women in the world have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting, with more than 3 million girls in Africa annually at risk of the practice.
  • Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18, primarily in South Asia (31.3 million) and sub-Saharan Africa (14.1 million).

Global March Against Child Labour holds that violence takes a multitude of forms – be it physical, sexual, mental, psychological or even economic.  Global March insists that the cycle of violence against children (especially girls) and women can only be broken by promoting free, quality, basic, public education to all girls and boys worldwide, as a priority.  Providing equal access, equal opportunities, and gender sensitive education – will be the cornerstone towards keeping the promise of ending violence against children and women.

While education is both a preventive and curative measure, it is also important to have criminalise violence, such as trafficking in person which affects millions of children and women.  In India, following the brutal assault and murder of the young woman, there has been a move to bring stricter legislations. 

Global March has participated in the submissions calling for stronger measures for protection of children and women in India, including the prohibition of trafficking in all forms and the inclusions of the offense of employment of trafficked persons. The recent submission to the President of Indiaand the Prime Minister can be accessed here.

“Millions of girls are denied educational opportunities, exploited as child labourers, in servitude including child marriages, are trafficked, and exposed to sexual and other forms of violence worldwide.  It is meaningless to mark a day without tackling this issue with utmost urgency, collective commitment and political will,” Global March’s Chairperson Kailash Satyarthi stated.

According to the UN, one out of every three girls born today will face some form of violence in her life time, and it is important to check this now.  Global March is focussing on these and other issues this year – particularly the 15 million child domestic workers – majority of them girls.



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