UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women's Statement on IWD Concerned Worldwide Economic Crisis
Thursday, March 12, 2009 9:28 AM

In an article released 6 March 2009, the United Nations Office at Geneva printed the statement the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Yakin Ertürk, would give on International Women’s Day on 8 March 2009.

Ms. Ertürk's statement concerned the current economic crisis. She cited the World Bank’s prediction that the crisis will drive 53 million people in developing countries into poverty this year alone. This would not only inhibit such UN Millennium Development Goals as eliminating poverty by 2015, she said, but it would seriously set back efforts toward gender equality. She explained how poor economic times negatively affect women: “[s]tudies have shown that violence against women intensifies when men experience displacement and dispossession related to economic crises […] or other situations where masculinities compete and power relations are altered in society.”

Although it is especially important during economic crises, Ms. Ertürk reminded her audience that is always important to challenge gender roles and power imbalances in society. This is necessary because “[v]iolence is not only an act of individual men but is embedded in the way manhood is constructed, reinforced and challenged under societal pressures, social approval mechanisms and crisis situations.”

Ms. Ertürk’s upcoming thematic report to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) will also relate to violence against women during the current economic crisis by addressing human rights responses to social and economic conditions that lead to gender-based violence. She will submit this final report along with her final country mission before her term as Special Rapporteur ends in June 2009. Ms. Ertürk was appointed to her position by the HRC in August 2003.

For the full text of this article, please click here.

Compiled from: United Nations Office at Geneva, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women Calls on Women and Men to Unite in Times of Economic Crisis (6 March 2009).