According to the UN, violence against women (VAW) includes “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private.” The UN estimates that 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence, and about 120 million girls have been forced into sexual acts at some point in their lives. Furthermore, recent research finds that 76% of women under 30 have reported abuse or harassment online.
This widespread violation of human rights means that women and girls can be afraid to participate fully in their communities, which has significant human and economic costs for society. In the UK for instance the cost of gender violence against women reaches almost 28.5 billion euros (US $ 31.8 billion).
The Womanity Award for the Prevention of Violence Against Women was developed in 2013, on the basis of a study and program designed for the Foundation, by Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP). The Award was first presented to winners in 2014. The international award supports collaboration between individuals or groups seeking to combat gender-based violence, and aims to break down barriers that such organizations face. This enables ground-breaking projects that are successful in one location, to be expanded, and reproduced elsewhere, to reach and help many more women.
Given every two years, the Womanity Award is presented to two recipients who work in partnership, with the Foundation’s financial and technical support. The Foundation fosters connections to professional services, supports learning visits and in depth work around monitoring and evaluation, and provides any relevant expertise and resources necessary for the replication and scaling up of the innovation.
The Award helps an Innovation Partner that has developed an already successful approach to the problem of VAW to increase their reach; whilst their designated Scale-Up Partner will receive support to adapt and deliver that project in their own location. The partnership lasts for three years.
The project aims to demonstrate the success of a new philanthropic model that builds upon scattered capacities and combines them to achieve lasting, large-scale change.
The Womanity Award, launched in 2013, is co-funded by the Trafigura Foundation.
To fund this work visit our Donate page.
The Impact (2014)
The Impact (2016)
Since may 2016, Luchadoras, the scale up partner has now successfully formed a collective of 6 activist organizations, “SiempreVivas”, to roll out the campaign.
The collective is getting from strength to strength as they are bridging off line and online activities.
The inaugural Womanity Award in 2014 went to the US-Brazilian organization Promundo and their Lebanese partners Abaad, to replicate Promundo’s work engaging men and boys in the achievement of women and girls’ rights (called Program H). Program H has had considerable success in Brazil and dozens of countries around the world. Abaad is implementing the approach for the first time in the Middle East with the help of Promundo and the support of the Womanity Foundation.
Promundo is a global leader in promoting gender justice and preventing violence by engaging men and boys in partnership with women and girls.
“Program H” (“H” for homens, or men, in Portuguese, and hombres in Spanish) is a methodology developed by Promundo and partners to start conversations with young men and their communities about norms related to manhood.
The “Program H” manual includes approximately 200 activities to carry out group work with young men (ages 15 to 24) on gender, sexuality, reproductive health, fatherhood and care giving, violence prevention, emotional health, drug use, and preventing and living with HIV and AIDS.
Through the Program H toolkit, Promundo has reduced intimate-partner violence among more than 250,000 young men and women across 40 countries, by combining group education with youth-led activism to achieve equality and reduce violence. Public school systems in Brazil, India, Croatia, Chile, Nicaragua, and elsewhere have officially adopted the approach as a part of their school curriculum.
This replication work is a first of its kind in the MENA region.
Abaad is a Lebanese based NGO promoting sustainable social and economic development in the MENA region through equality, protection and empowerment of marginalized groups, especially women.
Abaad leads various projects simultaneously, related to women and girls’ empowerment and the transformation of masculinities (some of which, outside Program H, are also developed in partnership with Promundo).
“Undergoing this work at a point in these young men’s lives where they are still formulating their identities and understanding how to interact with others – specifically members of the opposite sex – will prevent countless cases of gender-based violence in Lebanon,” says Anthony Keedi, Program Manager of ABAAD’s Masculinities Program.
“We really believe in working with other organizations towards a bigger MenEngage network” pic.twitter.com/ogtiPZtkRM
— ABAAD MENA (@AbaadMENA) 14 July 2016
Both organizations are now focusing on the implementation of a robust monitoring and evaluation process to measure changes experienced by stakeholders.
The second Womanity Award was announced in Paris at the OuiShare Fest, in May 2016. The Award went to the Take Back the Tech! (TBTT!) campaign, led by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) (South Africa) and Luchadoras/La Sandía Digital (Mexico). The collaborative campaign, which addresses the wide-spread problem of online violence against women, enables women to proactively respond to online abuse, claim virtual space and creatively influence policies and practices. The ultimate goal is to build an Internet free of violence.
Across the world there are 200 million fewer women online than men, it means men have more chance to present their own perspective online and hold even more power over women. Women are 27 times more likely as men to be harassed online.
What online violence looks like:
TTBT! works to get more women online and trained in new technologies so they can have a louder voice. It also seeks recognition for women’s achievements in ICT and in all areas of life, and for these achievements to be fairly documented on sites like Wikipedia, for example.
The winning partner organizations will collaborate for three years to extend and replicate the TBTT! in Mexico. This Award will enable the Partners to produce internet TV programs to increase awareness of the campaignamong young women, use online and traditional media to communicate tools and strategies for dealing with tech-related VAW, and build a network of young feminist activists and media producers.
“Violence against women and girls online is increasing,” says Lulú V. Barrera, founder of Luchadoras. “We want to break down stereotypes of women as submissive, with secondary roles in society around marriage and motherhood. We want to empower women through technology.”
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC), headquartered in South Africa, created the Take Back the Tech global campaign in 2006, with the view to reclaim online space for women and making that space safer and more representative, as well as a place for women to thrive and challenge norms that perpetuate discrimination and violence. The campaign is now present in 35 countries.
About La Sandía Digital
La Sandía Digital works with women in Latin America and helps them produce their own films documenting experiences around sexism. Such films include Living in Darkness, which highlights the case of a woman who tried desperately to divorce her husband but was criminalised for not fulfilling traditional gender roles around motherhood. La Sandía Digital has also created a very popular weekly feminist internet TV programme called Luchadoras, a subsidiary that will become fully independent at completion of the Womanity Award program..
Luchadoras, based in Mexico City, is dedicated to the promotion of women’s rights and social justice via an online feminist TV show broadcast weakly trough RompevientoTV. To replicate Take Back the Tech!, the collective will build a strong strategic network, equip women for digital self-defense, and train them to create content to respond to abuse and violence online.
Luchadoras is recognized by women’s rights movement as an important ally in amplifying their demands given limited mainstream media attention to social activism. In March 2016, the Mexico City Human Rights Commission awarded Luchadoras’ founder Lulú Barrera an honorable mention in the Hermila Galindo Prize for “innovative use of ICT to promote gender equality”.
In order to adapt Take Back The Tech! to the Mexican setting, with younger women’s collectives, the Partners will aim to:
ICT for Womanity Network
The Award winning program will also connect with other initiatives using ICT to prevent violence against women, creating a global network of activists and practitioners and fostering peer to peer opportunities. This network aims to:
For more information on registration, articles and achievements to date, visit the ICTforWomanity page