WDCD uses the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to announce a new research theme: What Design Can Do to end Violence against women. In São Paulo WDCD will start to research the theme in several breakout sessions.

Violence against women is an urgent issue across the entire globe. Some surveys show that up to 75% of women are targeted for physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Most of this violence takes place within intimate relationships, with many women reporting their husbands or partners as the perpetrator. Sexual harassment at work, rape, human trafficking and exploitation in the sex industry are also far too common.

Violence against women is a serious issue in a country like Brazil too, where 10 to 15 women are killed every day; over 5,000 per year! Subsequent governments have tried to address the issue with specific laws.

UN Women

Although the figures, specifically death rates, may be less alarming in the more developed world, women have to cope with violence here too. Across the 28 EU-member states a little over one in five women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence from a partner, according to a large-scale survey by the EU-agency for Fundamental Rights (2014) based on police data. In the Netherlands the figure is much higher: 45%, which is attributed to the fact that Dutch women are quicker to report violations to the police.

The nature and urgency of the issues may differ according to what part of the world is looked at, but violence against women is such a widespread phenomenon that UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women has made the Ending of Violence Against Women a priority issue (www.endvawnow.org).

Breakout sessions

At WDCD Live São Paulo the issue of violence against women and what design could contribute in this field is being researched in several breakout sessions. Brazilian designer and WDCD alumna Paula Dib, designer Renata Mendes and design researcher Shay Raviv will explore the leverage of reframing the problem into violence against femininity. Juliana Proserpio of Brazilian design thinking school Echos will present a two-part workshop on both days to study the topic. The results of the sessions will be used to develop future activities by WDCD in this realm.

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