UN Report: Violence Against Women Presents Greatest Obstacle to Equality, Peace, and Development
Monday, October 25, 2010 9:15 AM

The United Nations has released The World's Women 2010: Trends and Statistics, published every five years as per the 1995 Beijing Declaration to report on the worldwide status of women. The study statistically demonstrates that violence against women is a global phenomenon which is not limited to any particular region, economic status, religion, or other factor. It remains one of the greatest  "[obstacles] to the achievement of equality, development, and peace."

 According to the report, women face endemic violence within and outside of the home in every country in the world. Violence can take a number of forms, including physical, sexual, psychological, and economic. Perpetrators of violence tend to be intimate partners; young women are at higher risk for violence than older women, though all face significant risk. Customs in many regions of the world put significant pressure on women to unquestioningly accept battering from relatives or a spouse as due punishment for "mistakes." The adverse effects of violence have long-lasting consequences for women's family and social lives as they age. 

Female genital mutilation, "the most harmful mass perpetration of violence against women," is declining for young girls, but it is still reported in alarmingly high numbers in many countries.

Other indicators in the report include statistics pertaining to general population patterns, health, education, labor participation, power and decision-making, the environment, and poverty. Finally, the the report indicates that while gender-segregated statistics have become increasingly available in the past 20 years, definitions and collection methods vary across countries, and much of the data is severely lacking in detail, thus hindering more robust documentation and reporting on the status of women. 

Compiled from: Violence Against Women a Global Phenomenon - UN Report, WUNRN, UN Statistics Division, (20 October, 2010).