THE BLOG

Addressing Gender-based Violence Through Sport

06/03/2013 10:07 am ET | Updated Aug 03, 2013

It is estimated that there are over six billion people living in the world today. Over half of those people are females -- 3.3. billion to be exact. According to the United Nations, one in three women is beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime. The math is simple: One billion women have or will experience gender-based violence (GBV).

GBV is the most socially tolerated human rights violation of our time, deeply rooted in tradition, inequity and ignorance, resulting in a devastating list of global social, economic and development costs. In recent years, sport has been recognized as a powerful tool through which gender inequality, at the root of gender-based violence, can be effectively addressed.

When girls participate in sport, they challenge the core of GBV -- inequity, patriarchy and rigid gender roles. Beyond the social challenge, the application of sport in combating gender-based violence is practical. Physically when girls play, they become stronger and healthier. They develop a greater ownership and understanding of their bodies. The success a girl experiences on the sport field translates into her belief in herself off the sport field. The physical and emotional strength sport offers can be a positive force in reducing a girl's risk of experiencing GBV.

Stories gathered from around the world offer an indisputable testament to the power harnessed within effective sport programmes toward addressing GBV. Learn how football helps Ella move beyond the destruction of Sierra Leone's civil war and the rampant sexual violence that afflicted more than 50 percent of the nation's female population.

See how Mashuda uses karate to address major social barriers such as sexual harassment and even teasing, forms of verbal abuse that prevent girls from safely occupying public spaces in Bangladesh and from realizing their full potential.

Hear Fatuma's story and her brave approach through sport in Kenya to eradicating female genital mutilation, a tradition practiced in more than 30 nations around the world and globally recognized as a human rights violation.

Our repertoire of stories speaks loud and strong. Women Win believes in the transformative power of sport to equip adolescent girls with the ability to exercise their rights, raise their voices and begin to reconstruct the very social paradigms that perpetuate GBV.

Join the movement and help us support organisations that lead the way in addressing GBV through sport. For more information, read our ten field-affirmed reasons why sport is an effective platform for addressing GBV or visit our website at www.womenwin.org.