The below defines and outlines the terms that The Rights Collective will be using as it’s working definitions going forward. We are open to exploring feedback, clarifications and questions about this so feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gender-Based Violence and Gender-Based Inequality
BACKGROUND ON GENDER
Gender and its expression is largely a construct imposed by society. The sex that one is assigned at birth often has very little to do with the psychological makeup of a human being and what behaviours they are predisposed towards. Yet, the society we live continues to assign gender in line with the sex of a child. Through various socialised behaviours, society tries to force people to conform to a very narrow, binary heteronormative view of gender and its interaction with the world. The assigning of this identity and the lack of a person’s right to choose is often the first step into how the world we live in normalises gender-based violence.
GBV is defined as “violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately.” It is “a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination against women”. It leads to “physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” Violence in this context is defined in its broadest sense, as a means of exerting oppression and control, whether through an overtly physical act or through psychological pressure, coercion, intimidation or harassment.
The United Nations’ Population fund says that 1 in 3 women globally has experienced gender-based violence in the form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes. Suffice to say, the problem is real, directly affecting at least a sixth of the world’s population, and indirectly creating a gendered and violent society where even the those perceived to hold more power are expected to conform to toxic norms that perpetuate these violent behaviours.
GENDER-BASED INEQUALITY & DISCRIMINATION
GBI can be defined as “allowing people different opportunities due to perceived differences based solely on issues of gender. Gender discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual or group due to gender.” Gender inequality and discrimination are generally discussed in relation to women, but people of any gender can experience gender-based inequality or discrimination.
The Rights Collective adopts a broad view of GBV and GBI as any action, law or social practice enacted on the basis of someone’s gender identity that removes the agency of an individual to live in their chosen communities with the same rights, privileges and duties as other members of the same community will be considered as an example of gender-based violence by this Collective.
The issue, while complicated, is even more nuanced when we bring discrimination that occurs on the basis of other identities into the mix. This includes identities such as sexuality, race, religion, ethnicity, age, caste, physical ability or mental health. We focus on one such intersection and its subsequent sub-intersections. The core question that we wish to investigate is “how does GBV and GBI, in accordance to the definition set out above, affect women who identify as Hindu and/or are from Hindu backgrounds living in the South Asian community in the U.K.?”
We will be considering the adverse effects of not only physical, sexual, emotional and psychological violence, but also discriminatory policies, laws and community practises that affect us.
1 UN CEDAW Committee, General Recommendation 19, 1992, Para, 6.
2 .The Council of Europe, Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic abuse (the Istanbul Convention).
3 Gender Inequality and Discrimination, Amy Parziale, Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society
The word ‘woman’ still holds its roots in patriarchy, a system that provides men accessibility to positions of power from that womxn are excluded. A modification in spelling of the word to ‘womxn’ tries to stress the concept that womxn are their own separate individuals, capable of operational on their own and without a man to help them. This new spelling is also seen as intersectional. It incorporate transgender womxn, womxn of color, womxn from the Global South and each different self distinguishing womxn out there.