Effect of women economic empowerment on gender based violence in Somalia
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Gender Based Violence is a global public health and economic problem that affects both women and men. Approximately 35.6 per cent of women globally are reported to suffer from some forms of gender based violence. This entails considerable costs for national economies of both industrialized and developing countries. Often, Gender Based Violence is a reflection of gender inequality and women subordination in most societies. In Somalia Gender Based Violence is a widespread problem and the country's Inequality Index stands at 0.776 placing Somalia at the fourth highest position globally in terms of gender inequality. During the month of September 2012 alone, United Nations partners registered 277 cases of sexual violence in Mogadishu, 237 of which were rapes. The growing recognition of the gender based violence problem in Somalia by the Federal Government, donors and civil society has led to the adoption of a range of responses to address the complex dynamics that characterize it. Various nongovernmental organizations have adopted multi-sectoral protection programmes targeting gender based violence survivors. Women economic empowerment is recognized in these programmes as a crucial issue that can help women beneficiaries to lift up and escape from the risk of gender based violence. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect that women economic empowerment has on gender based violence in Somalia. The Methodology adopted in the study was qualitative analysis through a case study approach. The study was conducted in the Banadir Region, Wajir District in the 'capital city of Mogadishu, South Central Somalia. Primary and secondary data were collected from women beneficiaries of the programme "Promoting rights protectingwomen, Prevention of and Response to Gender Based Violence against women and girls in Mogadishu", implemented by the NGO CISP in South Central Somalia. The data collection techniques used included in depth interviews, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The sampling procedure was that of purposive sampling whereby 22 women beneficiaries of the economic empowerment component of the multi-sectoral protection programme were interviewed. The variables studied included I' women economic empowerment, education, age, number of children and marital status. The data were examined through a descriptive analysis using correlations and cross tabulation. The study found that women economic empowerment has a positive impact on gender based violence survivors and it has the potential to decrease the risk for further abuse. However, in order for women economic empowerment to have a long term effect on gender based violence other factors that influence gender based violence in Somalia need to be tackled simultaneously. Furthermore, the study suggests that longer term multi-sectoral protection programmes that foresee more women economic empowerment components need to be considered in order to have a long lasting impact on gender based violence survivors in Somalia.