Advocacy in Action: Advocating for Women Facing Gender-Based Violence
Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s (GHAI) latest episode of the Advocacy in Action series on Twitter Spaces gathered two leaders in gender equity to discuss the role of policy advocacy in preventing gender-based violence.
Judge Najla Ayoubi is Chief Operations Officer of Every Woman Treaty, an organization working to create a global treaty to prevent violence against women and girls. GHAI, Every Woman Treaty and Women for Human Rights, with the support of Rotary Foundation, recently collaborated on a project to support women’s rights leaders in Nepal as they build an advocacy coalition.
Dr. Roopa Dhatt, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Women in Global Health, works to address the dynamics of power and privilege that impact gender imbalances in the health sector.
Gender-based violence is a complex, underreported public health issue impacting every facet of societies around the world. Judge Najla Ayoubi stressed that policy advocacy to prevent this violence and address gender equity must be comprehensive, focusing on the policy process from beginning to end and targeting all age groups and genders who are impacted by the issue. At present, 75% of women in the Global South are not covered by any treaty against gender-based violence. For that to change, all age groups and genders must be equitably represented in advocacy spaces: including global health advocacy spaces.
Women in Global Health strives to balance the representation of women in leadership roles in the health sector at all levels and in all types of organizations. Dr. Dhatt described the enmeshment of gender inequity in global health systems, “Health systems are designed by men for men. While the majority of the health workforce are women, they are not the ones designing health systems.” Gender-based violence is a public health issue and policies to address it must include health systems.
Regarding the implementation of policies to prevent violence against women Judge Najla noted, “you can only monitor what you can measure,” and emphasized the need to collect data on the issue to continuously advocate for effective policy from the design stage through implementation.
Women in Global Health recently launched the #HealthToo Project, which aims to address the absence of data on sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment (SEAH) in the health sector. The #HealthToo platform creates a safe place for women health workers to anonymously submit their experiences with SEAH in the workplace. Raising the issue’s visibility is a critical step in advocating for solutions and continuing to build a healthier world for all.
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