The UN Women in Asia and the Pacific and the World Design Organization (WDO) have decided to support the prevention of violence against women and girls (VAWG).
The two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this end.
The collaboration between the two organisations aims at addressing this violence through the lens of design to identify human-centric, solution-based initiatives that will contribute to achieving multiple development outcomes including better health, education, civic participation and gender equality.
Violence against women is learned and it is, at its core, driven by a basic acceptance of gender inequality and the belief that women and girls are less valuable than men and boys, according to a media release issued from Montreal, Canada.
A critical path to prevent and respond to this type of violence is to instill early on the foundations of gender equality guided by empathy, understanding and mutual respect.
And while enacting systemic change is difficult, evidence shows that violence against women can be reduced in years, not generations as previously thought.
Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director of UN Women Asia and the Pacific, said that violence against women and girls is one of the greatest injustices of their time, which crosses all borders, generations, nationalities and communities.
"It deeply touches our hearts and our minds. We are in constant search of innovative and creative solutions to move people emotionally and act to end violence against women in Asia and the Pacific. We are thrilled to collaborate with WDO to come up with new ideas.”
Preventing the occurrence of violence in the first place not only eliminates immediate injury and trauma, but also inhibits the intergenerational spread of physical, psychological and socio-economic effects.
Stopping this violence benefits women, children and families, as well as the entire communities and societies.
Utilising the strategic, solution-based framework of design, new opportunities for breaking the cycle of violence can be identified and implemented.
By designing accessible and thoughtful products, systems and services, designers can work to deconstruct and address the cultural implications of VAWG while building tools and resources that empower and protect vulnerable individuals.
“We need to recognise that design is an important and integral part of the development process and our intent is to encourage government, industry and community to think about design as a means to solve problems,” WDO President Srini Srinivasan said.
“We are truly pleased to enter into this collaborative initiative with UN Women Asia Pacific and hope to leverage this opportunity to use design as a tool to drive positive and replicable solutions for people affected by violence against women and girls.”
UN Women and WDO have committed to begin their partnership by launching a two-week virtual workshop in August that will bring together professionals across various sectors to co-design innovative solutions.
The “Generation Equality Asia Pacific Design Challenge” will strive to promote behaviour change to reduce VAW by (i) enlisting community leaders and influencers; (ii) leveraging media to challenge stereotypes, (iii) moving people emotionally and empathically to act, (iv) changing the mindset that VAW is normal, and (v) influencing parents to raise children to reject harmful gender stereotypes and violence.
Outcomes of this collaborative initiative will be explored in the hope it will bring tangible results for women and girls, first in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as replicable solutions for people who have been affected by violence against women worldwide.