‘Violence against women a `cancer` on societies’

Gender-based violence cannot be treated solely as a women`s issue as it acts as a "cancer" on societies, a senior US diplomat said here on Wednesday.

Chennai: Gender-based violence, which affects one in three women around the world, cannot be treated solely as a women`s issue as it acts as a "cancer" on societies, stunting social and economic development, a senior US diplomat said here on Wednesday.
"Gender-based violence effectively acts as a cancer on
societies, causing enormous upheaval that stunts social and
economic development. Countries cannot progress when half
their populations are marginalised, mistreated, and subjected
to discrimination," US Consul General in Chennai, Jennifer
McIntyre said.

Addressing a conference on "Women, Society and Law in the
New Millennium," she said the cost of violence against women
exceeded USD 5.8 billion dollars in her country.

"A 1995 study in Canada estimated the annual direct price
of violence against women was more than USD one bn a year in
judicial, police, and counselling costs. A 2004 study in the
UK projected the total direct and indirect costs of domestic
violence to 23 billion pounds per year," McIntrye said.

In the US, the Violence Against Women Act had strengthened
efforts to investigate and prosecute crimes against women, she
said, adding she was "pleased" to know that Indian government
was implementing various strategies to combat gender-based
discrimination and violence.
Holding that women were first-rate entrepreneurs,
executives and policy-makers, McIntyre recalled the words of
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, saying "Investing in
the potential of the world?s women and girls is one of the
surest ways to achieve global economic progress, political
stability, and greater prosperity for women ? and men ? the
world over".

Women own nearly 8 million businesses in the United States,
accounting for USD 1.2 trillion of its GDP, she said, adding
women entrepreneurs would create about 5.5 million jobs in the
US by 2018.

"When I arrived in India in August 2011, I was happy to hear
about a 2003 constitutional amendment that mandated that one
third of all seats for Panchayats should go to women. I am
happy to learn that today in India, approximately 40 percent
of the elected representatives in the village and municipal
councils are women. This success has been described as a
silent revolution in Indian democracy," she said.


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