August 5, 2020
UN Women in Asia and the Pacific and World Design Organization (WDO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together to identify design solutions to support the prevention of violence against women and girls (VAWG). The collaboration aims to address 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,” according to a press release announcing the initiative.
According to the announcement:
“Violence against women is learned. 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. A critical path to prevent and respond to this type of violence is therefore 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, UN Women Asia and the Pacific, notes that “violence against women and girls is one of the greatest injustices of our 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”.
According to the organizations, by designing accessible, thoughtful products, systems and services, designers can work to address the cultural implications of this violence, while building tools and resources that empower and protect vulnerable individuals.
“We need to recognize 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” said WDO President Srini Srinivasan. “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.”
The initiative will kick off with a two-week virtual workshop in August 2020 that will bring together professionals across various sectors to co-design innovative solutions. According to the announcement, the ‘Generation Equality Asia Pacific Design Challenge’ will strive to promote behavior change to reduce violence against women “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.”
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.