Now what?

Violence against women is everyone's problem, and economists agree. Conservative estimates have found that violence against women costs 1.5 trillion US dollars, roughly the same size as Canada’s annual GDP. This country-sized price tag comes from direct costs such as healthcare, counseling, and other services. It also comes from indirect costs, such as lost wages and a decrease in productivity, in sectors like employment and education. Directly or indirectly, we are all paying the price.

Awareness is essential to overcome violence against women. Individuals, and even entire countries, don’t always understand these issues or how to prevent them, and it can be hard for survivors to speak out. But when they do, it can have a big impact on how government reacts. Want to see how one woman’s case changed perceptions of domestic violence in Palestine?

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Violence against women begins as violence against girls. [Tweet this.] In a global poll of more than 60 countries, half of all girls reported that the threat of sexual harassment prevents them from studying. Every girl deserves the opportunity to go to school without the fear of sexual assault and violence.

Moreover, girls everywhere deserve a safe environment from which they can learn and grow - but many are denied this basic right. STF Scholar Elly faced exactly that issue when she was in secondary school, struggling to find a way to stay in school. She co-directed a short video on her own story to highlight the importance of girls getting the education they deserve.

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Girls still have a long way to go before their education is considered to be as important as boys. But it’s important to remember the progress that the world has made against violence. Let’s take a step back from the violence and heartbreak and soak in a little bit of inspiration.

Want more solutions? Let’s start with global leaders who listen to the voices of women and girls. Policies that prioritize the education and safety of girls. Laws that keep women from dying. Here’s the Spice Girls remake that demands just that—and will help you release your inner girl power.

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