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Gender Violence Is A “Shadow Pandemic”: Un Women

Measuring the shadow pandemic: Violence against women

Focus: GS-II Social Justice, International Relations

Why in news?

The UN Women has urged member-States to include prevention of violence against women in their action plans on COVID-19 and consider shelters and helplines essential services, calling the rise in gender-based violence a “shadow pandemic”.


  • According to UN Women, globally 243 million women and girls aged 15-49 have been subjected to sexual and/or physical violence perpetrated by an intimate partner in the previous 12 month.
  • “The number is likely to increase as security, health and money worries heighten tensions and strains are accentuated by cramped and confined living conditions.”
  • It says according to emerging data, violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has ‘intensified’.
  • As per data compiled by the U.N. body, France has seen a 30% increase in domestic violence since the lockdown on March 17.
  • In Argentina, emergency calls for domestic violence cases have increased by 25% since the lockdown on March 20 and Cyprus (30%), Singapore (33%) have also registered an increase in calls.
  • Canada, Germany, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. have also registered an increase in cases of domestic violence and demand for emergency shelter.


UN Women: The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women:

UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

It works globally to make the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for women and girls and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on four strategic priorities:

  1. Women lead, participate in and benefit equally from governance systems
  2. Women have income security, decent work and economic autonomy
  3. All women and girls live a life free from all forms of violence 
  4. Women and girls contribute to and have greater influence in building sustainable peace and resilience, and benefit equally from the prevention of natural disasters and conflicts and humanitarian action

Conventions by UN-related with violence against women:

United Nations has made significant progress in advancing gender equality, including through landmark agreements such as the 

  1. Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action  

Beijing Declaration is an agenda for women’s empowerment and is considered the key global policy document on gender equality.

It sets strategic objectives and actions for the advancement of women and the achievement of gender equality in 12 critical areas of concern like women and health, women in power and decision-making, the girl-child, women and the environment.

Recent government schemes to achieve gender equality:

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana
  • Scheme for Adolescent Girls
  • National Nutrition Mission (NNM)
  • Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra
  1. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

The Convention on the Elimination of ALL Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly.

Described as an international bill of rights for women,

Steps Taken by the Indian Government:

Constitutional Safeguards:

  • Fundamental Rights: It guarantees all Indian women equality (Article 14), no discrimination by the State on the basis of gender (Article 15(1)) and special provisions to be made by the State in favour of women (Article 15(3)).
  • Directive Principles of State Policies (DPSP): It ensures equal pay for equal work (Article 39 (d)).
  • Fundamental Duties: It ensures that practices derogatory to the dignity of women are prohibited under Article 51 (A).
  • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005:
  • It provides victims of domestic violence with a means for practical remedy through prosecution.
  • The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961:
  • It prohibits the request, payment or acceptance of a dowry.
  • The sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and redressal) Act, 2013:
  • This legislative act seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work.
June 2024