On my recent visit to DRC, one woman who has been through such a process of gender transformation told me that previously it was difficult for her to oppose her husband.
“He would say ‘you're a woman, you can't say anything’," she says. "When we are like this, we can't make money. Before we had lots of conflict in the household, and lots of problems. Now we plan together and he doesn’t use the money alone.”
So, not only does challenging harmful gender norms and violence reflect everyone’s human right to life and safety but it also has very tangible, practical benefits for entire families.
Our work continues in many countries throughout the restrictions brought about by COVID-19, at a time when it is needed more than ever.
Even in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, where restrictions meant that the team could no longer access programme participants directly, we had already trained local ‘Change Makers’ from the community to be able to continue to intervene in cases of child marriage and IPV, and keep reinforcing messaging around violence and gender equality. In Syria, we continue to manage cases of GBV, despite the restrictions.
In Lebanon and Turkey, we have set up specific responses to the rising rates of GBV, such as setting up GBV telephone hotlines.