Gender-Based Violence (Violence Against Women and Girls)
Gender-based violence (GBV) or violence against women and girls (VAWG), is a global pandemic that affects 1 in 3 women in their lifetime.
The numbers are staggering:
- 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.
- Globally, 7% of women have been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner.
- Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.
- 200 million women have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting.
This issue is not only devastating for survivors of violence and their families, but also entails significant social and economic costs. In some countries, violence against women is estimated to cost countries up to 3.7% of their GDP – more than double what most governments spend on education.
Failure to address this issue also entails a significant cost for the future. Numerous studies have shown that children growing up with violence are more likely to become survivors themselves or perpetrators of violence in the future.
One characteristic of gender-based violence is that it knows no social or economic boundaries and affects women and girls of all socio-economic backgrounds: this issue needs to be addressed in both developing and developed countries.
Decreasing violence against women and girls requires a community-based, multi-pronged approach, and sustained engagement with multiple stakeholders. The most effective initiatives address underlying risk factors for violence, including social norms regarding gender roles and the acceptability of violence.
The World Bank is committed to addressing gender-based violence through investment, research and learning, and collaboration with stakeholders around the world.
Since 2003, the World Bank has engaged with countries and partners to support projects and knowledge products aimed at preventing and addressing GBV. The Bank supports over $300 million in development projects aimed at addressing GBV in World Bank Group (WBG)-financed operations, both through standalone projects and through the integration of GBV components in sector-specific projects in areas such as transport, education, social protection, and forced displacement. Recognizing the significance of the challenge, addressing GBV in operations has been highlighted as a World Bank priority, with key commitments articulated under both IDA 17 and 18, as well as within the World Bank Group Gender Strategy.
The World Bank conducts analytical work—including rigorous impact evaluation—with partners on gender-based violence to generate lessons on effective prevention and response interventions at the community and national levels.
The World Bank regularly convenes a wide range of development stakeholders to share knowledge and build evidence on what works to address violence against women and girls.
Over the last few years, the World Bank has ramped up its efforts to address more effectively GBV risks in its operations, including learning from other institutions.
Addressing GBV is a significant, long-term development challenge. Recognizing the scale of the challenge, the World Bank’s operational and analytical work has expanded substantially in recent years. The Bank’s engagement is building on global partnerships, learning, and best practices to test and advance effective approaches both to prevent GBV—including interventions to address the social norms and behaviors that underpin violence—and to scale up and improve response when violence occurs.
World Bank-supported initiatives are important steps on a rapidly evolving journey to bring successful interventions to scale, build government and local capacity, and to contribute to the knowledge base of what works and what doesn’t through continuous monitoring and evaluation.
Addressing the complex development challenge of gender-based violence requires significant learning and knowledge sharing through partnerships and long-term programs. The World Bank is committed to working with countries and partners to prevent and address GBV in its projects.
Knowledge sharing and learning
Violence against Women and Girls: Lessons from South Asia is the first report of its kind to gather all available data and information on GBV in the region. In partnership with research institutions and other development organizations, the World Bank has also compiled a comprehensive review of the global evidence for effective interventions to prevent or reduce violence against women and girls. These lessons are now informing our work in several sectors, and are captured in sector-specific resources in the VAWG Resource Guide: www.vawgresourceguide.org.
The World Bank’s Global Platform on Addressing GBV in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings facilitated South-South knowledge sharing through workshops and yearly learning tours, building evidence on what works to prevent GBV, and providing quality services to women, men, and child survivors. The Platform included a $13 million cross-regional and cross-practice initiative, establishing pilot projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nepal, Papua New Guinea, and Georgia,focused on GBV prevention and mitigation, as well as knowledge and learning activities.
The World Bank regularly convenes a wide range of development stakeholders to address violence against women and girls. For example, former WBG President Jim Yong Kim committed to an annual Development Marketplace competition, together with the Sexual Violence Research Initiative(SVRI), to encourage researchers from around the world to build the evidence base of what works to prevent GBV. In April 2019, the World Bank awarded $1.1 million to 11 research teams from nine countries as a result of the fourth annual competition.
Addressing GBV in World Bank Group-financed operations
The World Bank supports both standalone GBV operations, as well as the integration of GBV interventions into development projects across key sectors.