Dubai: The prevalence of violence against women is having a devastating effect on economies, in addition to the horrific trauma suffered by victims and families, a panel of experts speaking at the Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit revealed on Tuesday.
Figures quoted during the panel session, titled ‘The Cost of Violence in Women’s Economic Participation’, suggested that half of women in the United States had been subjected to violence, whilst for many women in work, those attacks resulted in an average of five days away from their jobs, meaning that over the course of a year they lost up to half a month’s salary.
“It impacts the GDP of economies when women don’t participate in the workplace as much as men” as a direct result of violence or harassment, said Reem Aslan, a senior gender consultant at the International Labour Organisation in Jordan.
In Jordan, a study last year suggested that $8 billion (Dh29.38 billion) annually would be added to the country’s GDP if women participated in the workforce as much as men.
More figures show that in England and Wales alone, the economy loses more than $32 billion per year due to violence against women by intimate partners.
Aslan told Gulf News that having systems to deal with this problem were essential.
“Having mechanisms where women can file complaints is crucial. We have Facebook pages where women can file complaints anonymously. Once we get them, we follow up with inspectors from the government,” she said.
Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, chief executive and international coordinator of Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, noted that while gathering the information was vital, it wasn’t enough.
“We already have plenty of staggering data, what we lack are effective laws, policies and support for the victims and survivors. There are steps which have been taken at a practical level, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule. The bottom line is that we have no shortage of data, but there is a severe shortage of action,” Cabrera-Balleza said.