The numbers speak for themselves. One out of every three women around the world has survived physical or sexual violence. An estimated 15 million adolescent girls worldwide have experienced forced sex. And 650 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday.
Indeed, the numbers are bleak. And despite the meaningful impact made by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the fight to eliminate violence against women remains a pressing necessity for the international community and an ever-relevant concern for men and women alike. It is, however, a fight that can be won. And Denmark is leading form the frontline.
Amid UN Women’s campaign to Orange the World and eliminate violence against women, #DenmarkInNY caught up with our colleagues at the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations to talk about Denmark’s global responsibility in promoting gender equality, the empowerment of women and how Denmark is working together with UN Women to end violence against women around the world.
- Why is Denmark engaged in the fight to achieve gender equality and to eliminate violence against women and girls?
Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is a longstanding priority for Denmark. Sadly, many women and girls around the world continue to face obstacles and remain disproportionally affected by poverty, discrimination and marginalization. These imbalances are not only unjust and harmful for the individual woman and girl, denying them their full potential and enjoyment of human rights, but result in significant losses in terms of sustainable growth and development for the entire world. Looking specifically at violence against women and girls, recent studies estimate the economic cost of violence against women between two to five percent of global GDP.
2. How does Denmark support UN Women and why is UN Women an important partner in the fight to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls?
Denmark has been a strong financial and political supporter of UN Women since its founding in 2010. In our view, UN Women is a key partner in the effort to ensure that all women and girls can live a life free from all forms of violence, as the organization continues to influence the development of international norms and standards on gender equality. Additionally, through the European Union, Denmark is supporting the world’s largest initiative to end violence against women and girls globally, namely the Spotlight Initiative — a joint effort by the EU and UN (UNFPA, UNDP and UN Women).
3. How does the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nation work with UN Women to achieve gender equality and to eliminate violence against women and girls?
The Permanent Mission has a close and constructive collaboration with UN Women here in New York and does its best to support UN Women in its work to achieve its strategic priorities and help ensure that UN Women is optimally deploying its human and financial resources to achieve these priorities. The Permanent Mission is therefore very involved in the discussions leading up to and at UN Women’s three yearly Executive Board sessions. Further, the Permanent Mission regularly meets bilaterally with UN Women to discuss Danish priorities within UN Women’s areas of work and to provide input and guidance to UN Women on key issues related to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Finally, the Permanent Mission engages actively in the negotiations of various UN resolution, e.g. the resolution on violence against women and girls, to push global norms, policies and standards in the right direction.
4. On November 25th, UN Women launched its Orange the World campaign to raise awareness about the global epidemic of violence against women and girls. How can such a campaign help eliminate violence against women and girls?
In recent times we have seen how global social media conversations such as #MeToo and #TimesUp can effectively increase global awareness on an issue and ultimately help ensure justice and change behaviours and norms. The aim of the #HearMeToo campaign (the Orange the World hashtag) is just that — to put a spotlight on the negative effects of gender inequality and violence against women and girls and thereby start transforming negative social norms. A campaign like this gives a strong voice to the survivors of violence around the world by giving them a common platform to share their stories. Finally, sharing these stories might also give other survivors the courage to speak up. Therefore, Denmark actively supports the Orange the World Campaign.