Empowering voices, breaking chains: the global pursuit to end violence against women

Violence against women is a pervasive and deeply rooted issue that knows no geographical, cultural, or socioeconomic boundaries. Professor Skerdi Zanaj , Full Professor of Economics and our Gender Equality Officer, explains what is being done to address this issue.

There is now a growing global awareness of the urgent need to tackle violence against women. International efforts, including UN Sustainable Development Goals, strive to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls through initiatives, campaigns, and educational programmes promoting gender equality and respect.

One significant milestone in this endeavour is the Istanbul Convention, which came into force in the EU on 1 October.

Under the #IstanbulConvention , the European Union officially acknowledges violence against women as a violation of human rights and renews its commitment to preventing such violence, protecting and supporting victims, and prosecuting perpetrators. This landmark treaty sets out a comprehensive set of measures to prevent various forms of violence, including domestic violence, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and honour-based violence. Its holistic approach encompasses legal frameworks, support services, prevention strategies, and the establishment of national monitoring mechanisms.

The impact of the Istanbul Convention has been instrumental in shaping national policies and sparking crucial conversations about addressing violence against women as a human rights issue.

In 2021, official reports indicated that across 17 EU Member States, 720 women were murdered by intimate partners, family members, or relatives. However, gender-based violence data remains scarce and lacks comparability across the EU.

Despite ratifying the Istanbul Convention in 2018, Luxembourg faces challenges in obtaining comparable EU-wide data on violence. You can visit the Gender Equality Index website for more information on gender-based violence in Luxembourg.

The University of Luxembourg actively participates in initiatives like Orange Week by organising workshops and running awareness campaigns. In October, the conference Brisons le silence gathered survivors of domestic violence, who shared their experiences to raise awareness and support others.

Our students also play an important role. Ioanna Bagia , a former master’s student and founder of the association Break the Cycle Luxembourg, received an Honorary Mention from the University this year for her work in training firefighters on how to respond to cases of domestic violence. Ioanna now serves as a Research and Development Specialist at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance and collaborates with the Gender Equality Office in their ongoing efforts.

Let’s all together contribute to the global efforts to end violence against women.