War and militarism have a profound impact on women inside and outside of situations of conflict. Sexual violence, intimidation and control—including clothing codes, public sexual humiliation and trafficking—are part of the patriarchal structures and systems that have oppressed women for most of history.
During active conflicts and in post-conflict societies, violence against women almost always escalates, leading to drops in women’s education and employment and the sidelining of women’s human rights. Militarized societies tend to fuel extremism—religious, ethnic, or nationalist—which invariably results in the repression of women’s freedoms. The diversion of government resources towards military spending harm women and girls, who without opportunities, increasingly engage in transactional sex work and as rebels and soldiers for economic survival. Violence against women occurs in the home and in public spaces even in so-called peaceful countries not engaged in active conflict or war.
Over 24 years, the Global Fund for Women has
- Seed funded domestic violence shelters and crisis hotlines in numerous communities, including the first national women’s crisis hotline in China.
- Funded advocacy that was instrumental in securing inaugural legislation criminalizing domestic violence in many countries, including Bulgaria, the DRC, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Zimbabwe.
- Advanced women’s role in peace negotiations by sustaining organizations that promote women’s participation in peacebuilding in the Balkans, Colombia, the DRC, Liberia, Nepal, and elsewhere.
- In 2011, three of our partners working on peacebuilding issues shared the Nobel Peace Prize – leaders of grantee organizations Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman and inspiration for grantee organization and GFW friend, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
- Ekasi, South Africa
- Kolkata Sanved, India
- Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, India
- Red de Mujeres Contra La Violencia, Nicaragua
- Wayuu Women's Power, Colombia
GFW strives to create a world where women have the right to live free from all forms of violence. We recognize the continuum of violence, from domestic and intimate-partner violence, to political violence, and violence in the public space. We also look at the root causes and factors that promote a culture of violence in our societies. As such, building peace does not only mean the absence of violence, but ensuring just solutions to the world’s inequalities, the end of gender-based violence, and women and girls’ entitlement to all their human rights.
GFW supports women-led efforts to build peace and end the continuum of violence. Our grantee partners work to address gender violence that is deeply embedded in legal and political institutions, community and family relations, and societal efforts to control women’s bodies. Our grantee partners offer care and healing to women survivors of all forms of violence and promote women’s active participation in peace negotiations, reconciliation and peace-building initiatives. They provide gender sensitivity training to police, judges, medical personnel, traditional leaders and paralegals to prevent and respond to violence.
Our grantees use the following approaches in Building Peace »
Mitigate physical violence in conflict, wars and in times of unrest
- Diminish, prevent, treat and address the impact of wars, conflicts and sociopolitical unrest on women’s bodies and psychological well being, including bringing perpetrators to justice in local, national and international courts.
Address human rights violations
- Monitor and document human rights violations and disseminate information to advocate for an end to impunity
- Provide human rights awareness-raising, legal aid in redressing violations and training human rights monitors
Engage in conflict resolution
- Work on ending conflicts in peaceful ways, particularly addressing structural inequalities, conducting peace education, and promoting a culture of peace.
Participate in peace negotiations and processes
- Initiate, sustain and enforce peace agreements between warring factions/countries, including integrating war tribunals and local justice mechanisms.
Reconstruct post conflict society and rebuild the state
- Rebuild social and state fabric in post-conflict contexts, including participation in legal reform, government rebuilding and reconciliation dialogues.
Lead disarmament campaigns, including the sale of small weapons
- Work at the community level to reduce support for weapons and use of force
- Work at the international level to hold governments accountable in regulating small arms flows and implementing disarmament policies
De-militarize national, state and local budgets
- Link the advancement of women’s rights to decrease in defense/military budgets, and decreased investments in the military industrial complex.
Enable Implementation of International treaties and conduct campaigns
- Advocating for implementation of UN security resolutions related to women’s peace and security, including 1325 and 1820
- Support international campaigns addressing landmine, cluster bombs, and other unlawful weapons.
- Utilize other international mechanisms such as the International Criminal Court to prosecute war criminals.
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GFW grantees work to End Gender-based Violence addressing the continuum of violence in their societies »
Stop domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, femicide and abuse
- Address physical and psychological abuse inflicted within the household, in an intimate-partner relationship, or a parental relationship.
- Address coercing another person to engage in or perform a sexual act (including but not limited to sexual intercourse).
- Address killing of women under the pretext of “cultural” norms, “passion” crimes, “honor” or “dowry” killings.
- Advocate for legal reforms in penal codes to criminalize the diversity of gender based violence.
Address sexual harassment
- Address intimidation, bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors in the workplace, school, or in public settings.
End harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, alteration, cutting, accusing women of witchcraft, public stoning
- Halt the practice, outlawing and persecuting the perpetrators, transforming public and private perspective of these practices.
- Halt early marriage, forced marriages, and forced sex as part of traditional norms.
- Halt wife inheritance and practices such as wife-sharing, wife replacement by a younger sibling, and widow immolation (sati).
- Halt punishment or abandonment of wife for lack of male children.
Raise awareness of political violence
- Address verbal, psychological, and physical violence aimed at intimidating women into political submission, including name-calling, threatening, stalking, harassing, etc.
- Document torture and other forms of violence in prisons and by police and work towards rehabilitation.
- Address intimidation tactics and other forms of violence against women political actors, women’s human rights defenders, activists, and family members of male activists in order to silence activism by women.
Connect neglect and economic violence
- Demonstrate how abusive behaviors within familial, intimate or community relationships are perpetuated by economic control, such as withholding money or stopping a partner from having a job.
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