Ahead of the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) in Paris this June, the IGC Global Board has approved a new, network wide Pledge to stand for zero tolerance of gender-based violence (GBV), sexist attitudes and behaviour. This will be an IGC commitment to the Generation Equality Forum and aims to tackle some of the deepest and most harmful norms that prevent the equal rights of women and girls being realised.
Like the Panel Parity Pledge, our aim is to collectively shift norms to make GBV and sexist attitudes and behaviour unacceptable within IGC’s multi-lateral hubs, and to open up a space for all fellow Champions to speak up, stand up and take action to eliminate all forms of GBV within their spheres of influence.
- Martin Chungong, Chair of the IGC Global Board
Signing up for the new commitment here is voluntary until the end of 2021, and from 1st January 2022, the commitment will become a core commitment alongside the Panel Parity Pledge. From July, the Secretariat will run a year-long campaign, building on the ‘I say no to Sexism’ campaign, and collate resources and best practices to support implementation.
On November 25th, the first day of 16 Days of Activism against violence against women, we will formally launch the Pledge. Champions will be asked questions on their steps to implement the Pledge in the IGC annual survey in December. We hope to count on support and action by all of you to make this an impactful and meaningful commitment.
Why a GBV pledge now? GBV includes harassment, aggression, threats and physical, sexual and psychological violence and exists in homes, communities, workplaces and online, and it disproportionately impacts women and girls. Almost 1 in 3 women has been subjected to intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence or both at least once in their life, and since the outbreak of COVID-19, reports of GBV against women and girls have increased together with greater inequality and insecurity and vulnerability for many. Climate change is likely to accentuate this trend unless pro-active measures are taken.
GBV is a stand-alone Action Coalition; it also relates to all GEF Action Coalitions. GBV presents a barrier to progress for societies, and at the same time, prevention lies with empowerment. When women and girls are valued equally in all their diversity, have equal access to employment, and are able to meaningfully participate in decision-making and governance, develop technology and innovate, they experience less insecurity and vulnerability and are more able to make autonomous decisions, including about their bodies. And with empowerment, we can tap into the potential of all people in society and meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
Why address sexist attitudes and behaviour? GBV is deeply rooted in social and gendered norms, attitudes and beliefs - sexism has become ingrained in words, images, gestures, speeches, laws, policies, practices and traditions across our societies. Sexist attitudes, behaviour and violence directed towards men and boys also contribute to harmful gendered norms and violent behaviour. This Pledge is a call for the whole network to break down harmful gender stereotypes in all their forms and apply an intersectional lens that allows us to truly value diversity and overcome barriers to inclusion.
How will the Pledge accelerate progress? Champions already agree to uphold IGC’s core values which include creating and maintaining safe workplaces and treating every person with respect and fairness, but achieving culture change requires continuous reflection and action to ensure that everyone aligns around shared values, and that support and accountability mechanisms are effective. In addition, with many people working from home, those experiencing domestic abuse are even more vulnerable and employers can play a critical role in supporting survivors.
Furthermore, the commitment encourages action across all Champions’ spheres of influence, which within our multilateral hubs are significant. Over 21 Champions have already made commitments to address GBV in areas such as human rights, women peace and security, humanitarian action, justice institutions, elections and politics. Only by working collectively to reform our legal systems, education, healthcare, financial institutions, technology and the media with laws, policies and appropriate finance and resources can we really hope to eliminate GBV in all its forms. The time to act is now and the IGC is uniquely placed to contribute to this global endeavour.
We invite you to support the IGC on this journey, to use your voice, your influence and your power:
- Sign up here
- Reference the Pledge in your speeches and communications
- Submit a short video explaining why you have signed up to the Pledge to the Secretariat email@example.com,
- Use the ‘I say no to sexism’ logo in all your communications and on the website and amplify this message on social media (pack here)
- Share with us any guidance you have developed, codes of conduct, policies, campaigns and research.
 Source : 85% of women have reported witnessing online violence against other women. Jigsaw/ The Economist, between May 2019 and May 2020