Combatting violence against women and girls

Dr Nata Duvvury

Dr Nata Duvvury is investigating the social and economic costs of violence against women and girls in developing countries

NUI Galway's reasearchers take on some of the most pressing challenges of our times and bring real change to lives around the world.

Violence against women and girls is a global issue, and one which is costing society on may levels, according to Dr Nata Duvvury, an established global expert in the field, and Co-Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Global Women’s Studies: “We need an immediate, pragmatic, informed and coherent response across nations. We understand today, more than ever before, the debilitating impact it has on individuals, families and communities. What we now need to understand are the myriad impacts of violence on the economy and society, we can then identify which interventions need to be prioritised for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole.”

In February 2015, a new research project was announced to investigate the social and economic costs of violence against women and girls in developing countries. Led by Dr Nata Duvvury at NUI Galway, the project is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development to the value of £1.5 million.

NUI Galway now leads an international team comprising Ipsos MORI in the UK and the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) in the US on the threeyear project. The ambitious project will take a multidisciplinary approach, involving experts in economics and the social sciences, including political science, sociology, gender studies, public health and psychology.

The research aims to pinpoint identifiable links between violence against women and girls and the economic impact this has on nations at differing stages of development. The focus will be on three countries – Ghana, Pakistan and South Sudan – and over 4,500 women will be surveyed. Researchers will carry out indepth interviews with survivors of violence.

By producing new empirical research and evidence on the economic and social costs, the research project will strengthen the argument for resources to implement laws, provide health and social support services, and to mobilise communities to shift the social norms that underpin violence against women and girls.

There is growing interest in estimating the socioeconomic impact of violence against women in many parts of the world. In a previous study led by Dr Duvvury, on costing domestic violence against women in Vietnam, the estimated loss of productivity, out-of-pocket expenditures, and foregone income for households came to about 3.19% of GDP.

The project is part of the UK Department for International Development’s investment of £25 million over five years, in a pioneering violence against women and girls research and innovation programme called ‘What Works to Prevent Violence’.