At least 1 in 3 women around the world are subject to sexual, physical or other forms of violence during their lifetime. It may take many forms and is not limited to any culture, region or country, or to any specific group of women. It has enormous social and economic costs, and undercuts the contribution of women to development, human rights, peace, and security. Not only does violence against women prevent mothers from raising healthy children, it also hampers the economic development and stability within the country in which they live. It also poses a serious threat to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Despite its high costs, almost every society in the world has social institutions that legitimize, obscure and deny abuse. The same acts that would be punished if directed at an employer, a neighbor, or an acquaintance often go unchallenged when men direct them at women, especially within the family.
For over two decades women’s advocacy groups around the world have been working to draw more attention to the physical, psychological, and sexual abuse of women as well as to stress the need for action to end all forms of violence against women. They have provided abused women with shelter, lobbied for legal reforms, and challenged the widespread attitudes and beliefs that support violent behavior against women.
Experts in related fields from 40 international and 150 U.S. groups are making great effort to legislate the International Violence against Women Act. This week’s discussion will start with general historical activities and earning power of women, their progression to professions and the modern movements to equality of wages based on the idea of "same pay for same work" and eliminating gender as an economic consideration.