1 March 2013 – Press Release

Violence against women remains a core concern

of the Graduate Women International

– The movement calls for education and policies to combat violence against women –


Geneva, Switzerland, March 1, 2013 — The Graduate Women International (GWI) based in Geneva, Switzerland, and its members call for higher education and stronger policy measures for women to combat violence against women. Worldwide one in three women has experienced violence and one in five women has experienced sexual violence in her lifetime. According to the World Bank, acts of violence among women between the ages of 15 and 44 cause more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. Around nine million Disability-Adjusted Life Years are lost annually to intimate partner violence.


Marianne Haslegrave, President of GWI, states that “Increased access to secondary or higher education and human rights education should be promoted to combat domestic violence against women and girls. We strongly urge governments and policy-makers to put into place policies and laws to ensure that this happens.”


Violence against women and girls is a global human rights injustice, which occurs in every culture, race, religion, and socioeconomic group. It takes many forms, including domestic violence, sexual harassment or assault, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation, female sexual slavery, incest, honour crimes, sexual abuse of girls and female infanticide or abortion of female fetuses. Violence during wars and internal conflicts occurs not only during encounters with enemy armies, but as a means of terrorizing the enemy population. Rape is often used as a psychological weapon to repress the enemy.


It has been found in various studies that there is a correlation between higher education and lower risk of domestic and intimate partner violence, although the protective effect only appears once women have received secondary education. Studies also show that women with primary education are more likely to be at risk of domestic and intimate partner violence than women with secondary or higher education and that women with no education are less likely to report violence or are culturally trained to accept violence.


The Graduate Women International (GWI) is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and has an international membership. Founded in 1919, GWI is the leading girls’ and women’s global organization run by and for women, advocating for women’s rights, equality and empowerment through access to quality education and training up to the highest levels.



For more information you can contact:

Contact Person:Nina Joyce

Tel: +41 22 731 23 80

Email: nj@gwi.org

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