The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is being observed this year, as every year, on 25 November, reminding us that efforts to ensure respect for the rights of women and girls remain vitally important.
Violence against women manifests itself in many forms and various areas. The International Day marks an opportunity to draw attention to the issues of domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, sexual harassment, human trafficking, gender-based violence in conflicts, access to justice, and feminisation of poverty . These issues are also integral to Switzerland's long-standing efforts to help eradicate these forms of violence and strengthen women's rights in general.
The damage that violence against women and girls inflicts on victims has an impact on society as a whole. It has short- and long-term consequences for their health, in particular their sexual and reproductive health, and for their ability to exercise their basic human rights. It is also an obstacle to women's economic and political empowerment.
According to the World Economic Forum, at the current rate of progress it will take another 100 years to close the global gender gap and 217 years for disparities in the world of work to end. We cannot afford to ignore these gaps.
The FDFA Strategy on Gender Equality and Women's Rights aims to strengthen Switzerland's efforts in this area. It contains thematic priorities and is also designed to integrate gender equality and women's rights throughout Swiss foreign policy. One of the objectives of the strategy is to combat all forms of gender-based violence.