International Women’s Day: Countering violence against women requires concrete steps

Mar 8, 2013

To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, Minister of State Cornelia Pieper issued the following statement in Berlin:

“Violations of women’s rights take many different forms. The scale of violence against women in the world is appalling. Seventy percent of all women will experience violence at least once in their lives.

It is also horrifying that no region of the world is immune. In recent months, the media have provided vivid coverage of the abuse of women: gang rape on Tahrir Square in Cairo, an attack on a girl aged 11 in Pakistan, horrendous abuse of women in India or the widespread practice of female genital mutilation.

It is high time to improve the protection of women and guarantee their rights. In the United Nations Human Rights Council and also bilaterally, Germany is playing an active role here. Last year, the Federal Foreign Office for example supported a project in Rwanda in which young couples were trained in preventing violence towards women with a view to them taking this information to their communities. In Russia, a partner organization trained experts to deal with domestic violence and provided advice for victims. In 2012, the Federal Foreign Office supported a campaign to increase public awareness of female genital mutilation in Djibouti. These are just a few examples of what we are doing around the world.

Education and social change on all levels are what we need to put an end to violence against women. Each and every one of us can make a difference.”

International Women’s Day has been celebrated on 8 March for more than a century. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the numerous human rights violations and discrimination women suffer. There is a broad spectrum of violations of women’s rights, violence being one form of many. Trafficking of women, forced marriage, oppression, exclusion from society and poverty pose a threat to women’s rights worldwide. Violence against women is also the focus of the UN Commission on the Status of Women currently meeting in New York (4 to 15 March 2013).

© Federal Foreign Office

Women's rights and gender equality

Sexual abuse, trafficking in women, domestic violence, forced marriage and genital mutilation are human rights violations which affect women and children almost exclusively. That's why the protection of women are central to Germany's human rights policy.