Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World

Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World
Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World

There are many gender inequality according to its context such as gender inequality in workplace, in politics, in education, in wage differences or in social life.

This research aims to define and comprehend the concept of gender inequality along with violence against women by means of basic statistics, Intergovernmental Organizations’ reports and academic researches. Gender inequality refers to disadvantaged crowd of people who are subject to negative disparity because of their gender identity or expression. On the other hand in this study gender inequality will be regarded only between men and women. Also, the question of what is violence against women is tried to explain with regards to some concepts selected from statistical criterions are tried to be explained.

Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World
Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World

What is Gender Inequality?

There are many subtitles for addressing gender inequality according to its context such as gender inequality in workplace, in politics, in education, in wage differences or in social life.

Amartya Sen (2001) stated 7 basic subtitles to identify gender inequality which are named as; mortality, natality, basic-facility, special-opportunity, professional, ownership and household inequality. Mortality inequality here means in some parts of the world inequality between man and woman takes more vital form via remarkable fatality rate of women.

Natality inequality means gender inequality could take the form of man-dominated vital choices which lead up to determining a fetus’ gender and causes abortion. On the other hand basic-facility inequality is the lack or limitedness of the basic facilities such as schooling for girls compared to the boys. Alike but not the same, speacial-opportunity inequality explained with the example of further studies like university by the author.

Just because it’s not included in the obligatory education duration like in Turkey, even if girls have completed their earlier studies there is still a line that most parents ,in some regions of the world, find it more preferable to send their boys to the college rather than their girls. As fifth, proffessional inequality which refers to inequality in workplace or employment in general.

Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World
Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World

Amount of woman leaders, directors or the wage inequalities between men and women could take place under this notion. There is also ownership inequality refers to inequality of property ownerships, the rates & amounts. Lastly, in the household inequality concept, the author claims that even if other 6 type of inequality were absent there is still disparity in domestic relations such as taking care of children, doing houseworks or inability of division of labor in general.

According to United Nations Gender Inequality Report 2020, there are 5 index to identify gender inequality which are maternal mortality ratio, adolescent birth rate, share of seats in parliament, population with at least some secondary education and labour force participation rate. In addition, European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) determined “core domains” to measure gender inequality with those concepts; time, money, health, work, knowledge and power.

Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World
Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World

World Economic Forum’s 2018 report stated, in issues like health and attendance of education there is more balance than economic and political oportunities.

Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World
Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World

Economic and political issues were shown as only dimensions regressed. Institution stressed that “it will take 95 years to meet the deficit in political representation”. As stated in Turkish Statistical Institute report 2018 variables are as follow, employment rate both in age 25+ and 15+, attendance to workplace, young unemployment, illiterate rate and college graduate rate.

Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World
Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World

Economic and political issues were shown as only dimensions regressed. Institution stressed that “it will take 95 years to meet the deficit in political representation”. As stated in Turkish Statistical Institute report 2018 variables are as follow, employment rate both in age 25+ and 15+, attendance to workplace, young unemployment, illiterate rate and college graduate rate.

As regards to the employment rate of women, it is half of men’s and most of the woman employment is in service industry. The rate of women who are in management positions shown as %17,3. Rate of women ambassadors is %22,1.

Rate of women in academy as professor is %31,2. Besides, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) datas in SIGI (Social Institution & Gender Index) use additional variables to ascertain inequality such as restricted physical integrity, restricted access to productive and financial resources, discrimination in the family and restricted civil liberties.

According to SIGI’s value measurement lowest ratio starts 10% and highest value reaches to 64% also some countries’ values identified as not applicable. Many variables in statistics are seemed to imply Sen’s classification of inequality. Therefore all denominations refer to economic freedom, education and culture essentially.

The gender pay gap in OECD Source: OECD gender data portal, www.oecd.org/gender/data
The gender pay gap in OECD Source: OECD gender data portal, www.oecd.org/gender/data

What is violence against women?

Violence against women is a gender-based violence which means violating a human based on his/her gender identity or expression and it could take the forms of psychological violence, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, physical violence, economic violence or stalking.

These subordinate titles mean that not only physical harms but also causing fear, discomfort, anxious etc. all kind of actions which affects the quality of life are involved in violence.

Also, World Health Organization (WHO) identifies VAW as a public health problem. According to statement of EIGE gender based violence roots in gender inequality and also strengthens it.

World map to show the rates of prevelance on violence against women Source: https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/violence/VAW_Prevelance.jpeg?ua=1,2 021

As regards to Council of Europe’s (CoE) expression there is no simple explanation of VAW but it’s indicated with cultural, legal, economic and political factors.

As regards to OECD datas on VAW, “women who support the idea that the men (their partner/husband) are justified in beating their wifes under specific circumstances” is presented in the name of “attitudes towards violence” and these attitudes were associated with culture, mostly the patriarchal culture.

What is patriarchal culture?

Akgül (2017) used Kate Millet’s definition of “men dominates female and elder dominates young” for patriarchy. Also underlined that patriarchy is a matter of power and control also can be seen even among women. Akgül used another key term for patriarchy and stated that it’s a self-based construction of relationships.

According to another study, forms of violence reflect the cultural status in addition to the patterns of power which men have control over women. Also, “men honour” mentioned as a crucial concept to justify the violence against women.

The mentioned study confronts us with rape-marriage too through the example of 12 Latin American countries which allows women to marry with their rapists and if a woman accept marriage, man will be absolved.

Violence against women exist all around the world in different cultural bases but the common thing within those cultures is their structures are men-based, patriarchal

Another study denotes that long-established gender roles enframe the reactions&attitudes towards VAW as much as it transmits these roles to the next generations. Other factor is legal factors which CoE underlined the deficiency of reportings and investigations.

Referencing to VAW there are 2 main authenticity to focus in terms of law: first one domestic legal order or what municipal law says, second one is worldwide legal order or what international community says. The domestic laws of countries will not be represented in this study but intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) which have been implemented investigations in this issue are going to discuss in terms of their reactions to VAW.

Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World
Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World

There have been various conferences, commissions, contracts and agreements among countries which are legally bounding for the sides, in order to take a collective action to prevent violence against women.

Concerning the Harvard University database on Violence Against Women Research, section of International Law: Beijing Declaration, Council of Europe, Human Rights Courts, CEDAW, İstanbul Convention, UN Security Council Resolutions, United Nations Treaty Framework were stated as highlighted headings in this section.

United Nations, UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women recorded 4 world conferences started in Mexico (1975) continued with Copenhagen (1980), Nairobi (1985) and Beijing (1995). UN made yearly sessions until 2009 then decided to establish a bureau with member states and turned Beijing Declaration into Beiijing Platform for Action.

Within its different bodies UN have conducted many projects which serve to investigation of the problem of gender inequality and violence against women. CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) is also one of those in order for monitoring the women’s conditions and supporting women rights.

What those conventions & declarations basically said/did? They made written promises to enquire the problem of VAW, confirm fundamental causes and prevent it in the long run. Each institution determines their own values, indications, methods, variables and perspective about the subject. They set primar goals. For example, in Beijing Declaration the goal expressed as “development, equality and peace for women on behalf of all humanity.” Besides a commitment was made concerning human rights and fundamental freedoms both for women and children.

Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World
Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World

Beijing Declaration declares its support for women empowerment. Furthermore CoE have conventions about VAW such as Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, CoE Task Force to Combat Violence against Women, CoE Convention on Preventing and Combating VAW and Domestic Violence or İstanbul Convention.

Kırbaş Canikoğlu stated that there is “law of protection of the family” in domestic law and it doesn’t extend the outside marriage partnerships alongside it doesn’t specify the definition of violence. On the other hand ,she expressed, international agreements are on behalf of all women who are whether or not married but violence victims and also they are binding elements in addition to national law.

Regarding economic factors, it is another variable to define causes of the VAW. Researches focused on women education and type of employment which are also important elements to estimate social or cultural factors.

OECD findings in Social at a Glance Report 2016 shows that lack of education one of the most circumstance causing unemployment besides being a woman worsens the risk. Datas also stress the reasons behind unemployment of young men and women. While men are mostly unemployed because of health conditions, for women it’s the child-care and works inside house.

Besides, Keskin & Ertan (2018) figures that economic empowerment of women frequently regarded as a major tool for fighting violence against women. Another study which is published by Iranian Journal of Psychiatry expressed that there is no link between domestic violence and education but the relevant education was bachelor and master degrees for participant women, even if 37.8% of them working as clerks and only 4.8% of women were illiterate.

Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World
Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality in the World

Therefore the gap between pre and post education violence estimated as only 5.17% percent which were estimated more than 10% in WHO datas for different countries. Furthermore, husband’s mental health, childhood experiences and education level (almost %20 of them had primary education) were founded more useful to explain VAW.

This study were pursued in Iranian society and researchers supposed 2 reasons for those results: first one most of the participant women and partners had high education that’s why pre and post education gap is small and secondly participant could be ashamed to say that they are being under violence in any kind.

Last factor which is shown as one of the fundamental reasons of gender-based violence is political factors. Political struggle of women rests upon 1900s with first feminist reactions to obtain suffrage (right to vote) that’s why first feminists were called as suffragette.

To be able to obtain a legal right, 90s’ women were obliged to give a reaction and they became successful. Freedman (2002) expressed feminism as women’s politics and defended that it organically branched off as far as women’s description. Notion of feminism goes back to 1880s but it standed as a political act in 20th century.

Some researchers defend which there is a “no-win” situation for women in politics because even if they are politically succesfull women are expected to be either invisible or traditional. Researchers also remark women are getting used to those attitudes or denominations rather than competing politics of gender and as long as they are used to it, it worsens the gender-role expectations.

Under-representation of women in politics, small numbers of women in parliament & management seats, lack of the female voice in speeches could be shown as fundamental problem being ahead of “women existence” and that’s shaping the women right to speech, right to represent themselves, right to object for inequalities and resist towards men who found a right in themselves to violate women.

UN Women data says that only 22 countries ever had a women executive and other 119 have never had.

European Union states that countries need policies with visible gender perspectives to be able to estimate the effects of taken decisions on women and men.

Policymakers are determining the economy, international relations, domestic structure, agreements, wars, attacks, technology.. everything happening around the world are results of policymakers’ choices. Men and women are equally exist in this world that’s why the decisions must take with equal right to speak.

As a result, it is undeniable that gender inequality exists between men and women. It cannot be said that gender inequality definitely the reason of violence against women but the inequality measurements and the possible causes of VAW’s let us to correlate and judge these two unfortunate concepts on their own merits. VAW is a communal public health problem often observed in domestic.

If there is no actual support from society, law or politics, it causes alienation of women and make them feel desperate. Family, culture, educational bakground are the factors that shape our perspectives and they are all is a whole. If there is inequality we should change the perspective and if there is violence we have to change the attitude.

Researcher by Pınar Başyılmaz