Stop the Violence Against Girls and Young Women is a program needing support
WAGGGS wants to work with the right partners that care about gender equality and want to make long-lasting and impactful change to millions of girls and young women worlwide.
The UNHCR refers to Gender Based Violence as ‘harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender. It is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms.’
This includes sexual, physical, mental and economic harm inflicted in public or in private. Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is the most extreme manifestation of gender inequality and human rights violation. There is a growing understanding that VAWG has many dimensions, physical, emotional, verbal, mental, spiritual, and psychological, this also includes both a deliberate deprival of dignity and access to basic services.
More recently it has been seen that when global environment pressure increases so does violence, especially against women and girls. For example, there has been an increase in domestic violence cases during COVID-19’s global pandemic. The pandemic and the lockdowns that ensued across the globe as a result of Covid-19 has increased the exposure to women and girls to violence and abuse, whilst limiting their access to services (WHO, 9 March 2021).
Girls and young women not feeling safe
The statistics are shocking, with 80% of girls and young women not feeling safe when their outdoors on their own. 51% have received unwanted sexual comments directed at them in public and 67% have experienced sexual harassment at school from another student.
Girls want to see urgent action on this issue including making it easier to report sexual harassment, better education in school around consent and acceptable behaviors, and improved representation of women in the media.
This isn't a new issue for girls. In 2015 Girlguiding campaigned to see sexual harassment in schools addressed, helping to show the extent of the issue and calling for new guidance and an updated RSE curriculum. Six years on, WAGGGS is calling for the Government to do more to tackle the culture of sexual harassment across society.
Supporting girls’ voices to be heard
Girlguiding is committed to supporting girls’ voices to be heard and will continue to work to make sure all girls and young women can live their lives freely and safely. the WAGGGS STV program is the only global campaign dedicated to ending violence and abuse in all its forms against all girls and young women. WAGGGS uses its collective voice of over 8.9 million girls and young women across 152 countries with the aim to stop violence at its roots - not to cure a symptom of the problem - but to cut out abuse in all its forms, recognizing that the issue is systemic and wide reaching across all cultures.
WAGGGS does this by giving young women, girls and boys the tools to identify violence against girls and women and allow them the confidence to speak out and take action. More specifically, through conversations, engaging in community action, protesting, petitions, media engagement, social media and in lots of other ways Girl Guides and Girl Scouts are raising awareness about the dangers girls and women face, the need for change in attitudes and behaviors and they are calling on their communities to join them in taking action.
Learning about human rights and develop life skills
With the Voices against Violence (VAV) curriculum, co-created by WAGGGS and UNWomen, participants learn about their rights, develop new life skills, discuss and challenge negative gender norms. Moreover, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts are lobbying decision makers that have the power to stop the violence by speaking out about their experiences, calling for laws and policies to protect girls and women and demanding that perpetrators be prosecuted for their actions.
WAGGGS has seen how education and action have worked hand in hand to make lasting and impactful change. WAGGGS can see first-hand how girl guides in Malaysia have harnessed the power of campaigning to launch a #NoBridesUnder18 campaign, calling for an end to child marriage, resulting in child marriage being banned in 4 states. Each year, WAGGGS has participated in in the Commission on the status of Women to influence and ensure Member States prioritize the needs of girls. WAGGGS is actively engaging in the Beijing +25 review process and the Generation Equality Forums.
In Nigeria, girls and young women have used their curriculum across the country to lobby state officials, educating them on the importance of the Stop the Violence Program, highlighting the issues that are affecting them in their community. Girl Guides participated at a nationwide walk against Child Sexual Abuse, demanding that the Violence Against Persons Prohibition ACT (VAPP) be incorporated into state law, with the aim to protect as many girls as possible.
Thanks to the girls and young women’s sheer determination, in every state of Nigeria, Girl Guide Leaders are continuing to lobby their law makers to make children safer against Child Sexual Abuse.
There remains far more work that needs to be done
To respond to the growing pandemic of violence against women and girls, WAGGGS wants to reach more girls and young women, educate more communities-including boys - and support on the ground advocacy campaigns, with the aim to scale these efforts. WAGGGS wants to continue to offer girls and young women the chance to hold leaders accountable at global events such as United Nations Commission of Status of Women and the General Assembly, Generation Equality and the High-Level Political Forums.
To achieve this, WAGGGS needs more funding. Current funding for opportunities has reached its maturity. This leaves WAGGGS with having to pull support in countries, pausing activities across the globe. Having a fully funded program allows WAGGGS to create a bespoke and culturally specific educational toolkit, train dedicated and enthusiastic leaders across the globe and to support with local and global advocacy campaigns.
Partner with WAGGGS and support the supporter
WAGGGS wants to work with the right partners, that care about gender equality, strive to tackle SDG 5 and make long-lasting and impactful change to millions of girls and young women.
If this is you and your organization, please contact WAGGGS.