How gender-based violence AFFECTS THE ECONOMY
South Africa loses billions to gender-based violence a year
GENDER-BASED violence (GBV), and in particular violence against women, is one of the most expensive public health problems globally and has a fundamental impact on economic growth.
GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AFFECTS ALL
More than 30 studies, mostly from developed countries, have been conducted to focus largely on the costs of services, economic losses, decreased productivity and lower earnings resulting from gender-based violence. Economist and author, Audra J Bowlus, states in one of her books called Violence Against Women and The Law that, “Awareness of the costs of gender-based violence to society strengthens arguments for the intervention of government, social institutions and businesses. The costs affect everyone and gender-based violence is a societal issue.”
EFFECTS OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
Similar to the use of seat belts, road safety, health risk management or vaccinations, gender-based violence is an issue for which it is appropriate for society to intervene. Businesses are also affected by the consequences of gender-based violence through lost time and productivity. Demonstrating these costs will help influence businesses respond to issues of abuse in their workplace and their workforce.
Gender-based violence affects people’s general well-being, including their health and productivity.
BILLIONS SPENT A YEAR
KPMG conducted a study that revealed that up to a quarter of women experience gender-based violence within any given year.
Studies estimate that the economic impact of that violence stood at between R28.4 billion and R42.4 billion as of 2013.
The estimates should be considered as a partial or a minimum estimate of the true costs.
Audra explains that governments also provide services like health care, prevention, shelters, police, judicial and others, to victims, their children and their perpetrators.
GETTING RID OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
In reality, it may seem hard to believe that gender-based violence will come to an end, but Audra thinks with a bit more emphasis from the government and the public, it can be minimised.
“Generally, the government can help by taking a stand that gender-based violence is not going to be tolerated, changing and enforcing laws, if necessary, and providing prevention services for both victims and potential perpetrators,” says Audra. “Society can help by also contributing to the change in norms by no longer accepting violence as okay or as a private matter. Society needs to speak up and report such incidents.”
Gender-based violence is an expression of power and inequalities that exist