This piece by Antonella Notari Vischer was originally published on trust.org

Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

More than one in three women worldwide will be a victim of physical and/or sexual violence in her lifetime – that’s nearly 1.2 billion women. More often than not, these acts of violence will be committed by an intimate partner and exact tolls of epic proportions for the victim on her health, mental well-being, and livelihood.

There is no doubt that this is an epidemic rooted in a history of gender inequality throughout the world and exacerbated by conflict, reinforced by cultural norms, and poverty.

The most common programs addressing violence against women today provide treatment and support. How do we get beyond service provision to create a profound positive shift towards mutual respect and equality?

Preventative programs are a challenge – to fund, to measure, to scale.  However, the only way to get to a place where men and women, boys and girls can see one another as equals and violence as an aberration, not the norm, is to change the way they relate to and understand one another. Women and girls will not have true agency without cross-gender cooperation – men and boys play a critical role in creating the change that we so desperately need. 

The inaugural Womanity Award was conceived to identify and support innovative programs that are preventative in nature. This award will provide the funding and capacity needed for local organizations to adapt, deploy, and evaluate new models of prevention. And most importantly, inherent to this collaborative model of funding and scaling, we will share our learning with the larger development community.  

We invite you to join us online on 20 May at 4pm UTC to meet the Womanity Award laureates and engage in a discussion with leaders in the field of preventing violence against women, to talk about how we can effectively empower men and boys as advocates for gender equality. 

 Panelists include

  • Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation (Moderator)
  • Yann Borgstedt, Founder and President of The Womanity Foundation
  • Lionel Bodin, Senior Manager, Accenture Development Partnerships
  • Rachel Vincent, Director of Media and Communications, Nobel Women’s Initiative
  • Professor Charlotte Watts, Director of Gender, Violence and Health Centre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

We would love to hear from you in advance: please post in the comments below or tweet us at @ForWomanity with any questions you may have. 

Antonella Notari Vischer is executive director of The Womanity Foundation