Spotlight Initiative helped more than 1.6 million women and girls experiencing violence access gender-based violence (GBV) services, doubled conviction rates for perpetrators
NEW YORK, United States - A new report from the United Nations shows that the Spotlight Initiative to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls has helped 1.6 million women worldwide to access gender-based violence services since it launched in 2017.
In 2021 alone, the Spotlight Initiative more than doubled conviction rates for perpetrators of gender-based violence, signed or strengthened 198 laws and policies to eliminate violence against women and girls in 41 countries, and educated more than 1.3 million men and boys on non-violent conflict resolution and positive masculinity.
“Trillions of dollars are spent every year on peace and security. But we should be asking, Whose peace? And whose security?” - UN Secretary-General António Guterres
The results were released today in the Initiative’s 2021-2022 impact report, ‘Driving Change For a Better Tomorrow’, which shows the progress that the Initiative has made over five years despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other global setbacks to gender equality.
The Initiative has also achieved an eight-fold increase in national budgets allocated to addressing violence against women and girls over the course of its lifetime. This shows that a comprehensive, multi-pillar approach to ending gender-based violence is key to creating national and local ownership and fostering sustainable, long-term change. At the same time, the Initiative addresses harmful values that contribute to violence and has engaged 2.5 million young people in programmes promoting gender-equitable norms and attitudes since it launched.
These findings are consistent with a 2022 study conducted by Dalberg, which found that with further investment, Spotlight Initiative could reduce the number of women and girls who experience violence in their lifetime from 1 in 3 to 1 in 5 within a decade, save the lives of 5 women every day, and keep 19 million more girls in school by 2050.
The Initiative could save the lives of 5 women every day, and keep 19 million more girls in school by 2050
As United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in his groundbreaking ‘Women and Power’ speech, “trillions of dollars are spent every year on peace and security. But we should be asking, Whose peace? And whose security?” He continued. “Inter-State conflict makes headlines, but in some of the most violent parts of the world, levels of femicide – the killing of women – are comparable to a war zone.”
Last year, Mr. Guterres implored UN Member States to address this funding gap and to “call on the UN’s expertise and the positive models provided by the Spotlight Initiative”. He also urged States to develop an emergency plan to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. In 2021, the Spotlight Initiative worked with 43 of its programme countries to do just that, developing and strengthening national action plans to end such violence and bolster gender equality more broadly.
The global Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls is a United Nations initiative supported by the European Union and other partners.
It is the world’s largest targeted effort to end all forms of violence against women and girls.
Launched in 2017 with a seed funding commitment of €500 million from the European Union, it represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality as a precondition and driver for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Spotlight Initiative is responding to all forms of violence against women and girls, with a particular focus on domestic and family violence, sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, femicide, trafficking in human beings and sexual and economic (labour) exploitation.
It operates across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific and reaches 122 countries through its 34 programmes.
The Spotlight Initiative is demonstrating that a significant, concerted and comprehensive investment in gender equality and ending violence can make a transformative difference in the lives of women and girls.
For more information, please contact:
Spotlight Initiative Communications Lead