Promoting Gender Equality to Prevent Violence Against Women. 6/09

Published by WHO, June 1, 2009


This briefing document focuses on violence against women by intimate partners. It examines the relationship of gender inequalities to gender-based violence and finds evidence that school, community, and media interventions can promote gender equality and prevent violence against women by challenging stereotypes that give men power over women. It then describes some of the promising methods of promoting gender equality and their effectiveness. These include:

- School-based interventions - working with schoolchildren before gender attitudes and behaviours are deeply ingrained. The most widely evaluated are interventions that attempt to create equal relationships and change attitudes and norms towards dating.
- Community interventions - trying to effect change in individuals and whole communities by addressing gender norms and attitudes. Community interventions can include methods to empower women economically and to enlist men as partners against gender-based violence.
- Media interventions - organising public awareness campaigns using mass media to challenge gender norms and attitudes and try to raise awareness throughout society of violent behaviour towards women and how to prevent it.

Not discussed at length, but noted as important, are government interventions to promote gender equality, such as: laws and policies on local, national, and international levels that criminalise violence against women (e.g., intimate-partner violence, rape in marriage, and trafficking for prostitution); laws and policies that support and protect those affected (e.g., implementing protection orders, child and family protection units, specialised response teams, women’s shelters, and family courts); improving the response of police and other criminal justice officials towards cases of violence against women; and improving women’s rights in marriage, divorce, property ownership, and inheritance and child support.


- Overview
- Introduction
- School-based interventions
- Community interventions
- Media interventions
- Summary
- References

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Department of Gender, Women and Health (GWH), Family and Community Health (FCH)
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