Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Against Women and Girls

The socio-economic, cultural, political, and technological advancements human beings  have achieved in the last 200 years is beyond imagination. Nowadays, traveling through the vastness of space is no more science fiction. We have reached the pinnacle of medical progress where we can prevent and cure hundreds of deadly diseases that were impossible 50 years ago. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is transforming our life into a whole new reality of social existence right before our naked eyes.  In sum, we may say, all these remarkable achievements we have celebrated are the brightest sides of humanity and epitomize our capability to dream about something beyond what could possibly be dreamt of and make it real. 

But unfortunately, behind the glittering innovation and advancements we uphold, there exist injustice, inequity, inequality, and ignorance even amongst the modern societies across the world. It is no wonder that the sexual and gender-besed violence (SGBV)  against women and girls that is pervasive across the world is quintessentially a manifestation of the systems of injustice, inequity, inequality, and ignorance. For instance, it is estimated that approximately 35% of women worldwide have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime[1].  In 2021, there were nearly 10,000 rape incidents in South Africa[2].  According to UNICEF, at least 200 million girls and women alive today living in 31 African countries have undergone FGM (Female Genital Mutilation)[3]. The UN reported that 2,000 unborn girls are aborted every day in India[4]. Reports also show that, in 2021, there were 70, 000 – 80,000 girls that were victims of child sex trafficking in Indonesia[5].

All the sexual harassment, rape, FGM, female infanticide, and child sex trafficking reports vividly show us how the world has been and is cruel to women and girls. Nowadays, it is not arguable that the world should be a safer place where the fundamental rights and dignity of women and children are fully respected and protected.  Indeed, after WW II, the international community started to establish legal instruments that could protect the fundamental rights and dignity of women and girls. The most important legal instruments established to guarantee the protection of the rights of women and girls are listed hereunder.[6]

  • Paris 1948: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Mexico City 1975: The First UN Conference on Women: The Declaration and Action Plan
  • New York City 1979: Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Copenhagen, 1980: The Second UN Conference on Women: Global Action Plan
  • Nairobi 1985: The Third UN Conference on Women:  the strategies for the advancement of women to the year 2000
  • Vienna 1993: The UN World Conference on Human Rights and the Vienna Declaration
  • Beijing 1995: The Fourth UN Conference on Women: the Platform for Action and Beijing Declaration

In practice, the legal protection of women and girls is a multi-level and multi-sectoral endeavor that involves various stakeholders. Some worth mentioning stakeholders are Multilateral Organizations such as the UN, INGOs, Local NGOs, Government Sector Institutions, and Consultants such as Frontieri Consult (our firm).

Frontieri was established in 2008 by a dynamic group of Ethiopian professionals to undertake research and consultancy activities. We are proud that we have so far implemented projects that positively contributed to the protection of the rights and dignity of women and girls across all regions of Ethiopia in collaboration with UNICEF, UNDP, Save the Children, DFID, JICA, US AID, World Vision, Plan International, UN Women, Government Ministries, and other prominent partners and clients. 

Frontieri appreciates the work done so far to alleviate SGBV against women and girls  by international and local stakeholders. But it recognizes the pain our daughters, sisters, and mothers in most parts of the world are yet enduring day in and day out. Frontieri also recognizes that we have a long way ahead of us to make the world a safer place for women and girls. Hence, for years to come, Frontieri will be committed to delivering tailor-made solutions and quality services in research and policy analysis, impact evaluation, capacity development, technology and innovation, and strategy that duly take the conditions, and the rights and dignity of women and girls into account.

About the Author

Edomgenet Hiba (Asst. Prof.)

Senior Research Officer, Frontieri Consult

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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