Patricia sweeping the yard, Uganda (2009). (c) Heather McClintock

Close the Gap

How to eliminate violence against women beyond 2015

Published: 11 March 2014
Daniela Rosche, Policy Advisor, Women’s Rights and Gender Justice

At least one in three women worldwide will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, often perpetrated by an intimate partner. Violence against women and girls is a fundamental human rights issue and a central challenge to development, democracy and peace.

Oxfam is very concerned that efforts to eliminate violence against women do not match the scale of the problem. In fact, while the need to end violence against women is broadly recognized, levels of violence worldwide point towards a huge gap between rhetoric and action.

The international community is failing women on this issue and will continue to fail if we do not step up our efforts.

As governments, decision makers and civil society embark on a review of the Beijing Platform for Action and consider a framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), there is an opportunity to close the gap and renew our commitment to the elimination of violence against women.

This paper is being launched to coincide with the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Key recommendations from the report:

  • Politically, a long-term transformative agenda aimed at effecting lasting change and eliminating violence against women is needed.
  • The formulation of a new post-2015 development framework provides critical momentum to address the elimination of violence against women. Oxfam is calling for a stand-alone gender equality goal accompanied by a specific target on violence against women in the post-2015 agenda.
  • In order to fully eliminate violence beyond 2015, Oxfam has proposed a Comprehensive International Action Plan. This would act as a much-needed roadmap for taking forward interventions by operationalizing them and establishing urgently needed monitoring mechanisms.
    • Focus areas for the Action Plan should include:
      • Develop and strengthen laws for women’s rights and gender equality;
      • Prioritize and reallocate financial resources to end violence against women;
      • Make the elimination of violence against women top-level government business;  
      • Fragile states must develop strategies for organizing responses to VAW in conflict settings.


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