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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty and Gender-Based Violence

Occasionally when asked about this game project, we’re confronted by the seemingly reasonable question “Why address violence against women, in a developing economy? Aren’t there more important issues to work on in such a place, like poverty, or health, or education?” It’s hard at first to understand why improving quality of life for just one portion of the population is getting attention and funding, when some people are struggling just to stay alive at all. In fact, one of the key motivations behind our project’s theme is the unexpected causality: gender-based violence, in all its forms, is hugely responsible for the world's continuing cycles of poverty.

Fortunately the reverse is true, as well. If you empower women in a community by improving their health, education, economic rights such as property ownership, access to reproductive services, and decision-making ability, then they can participate more fully in the economy, enabling the survival of their families and communities. Not only are economic development and fair treatment of women both crucial for human dignity, you cannot achieve one without also working for the other.

Image: Handicrafts in Khayelitsha - Photo: Ray McCarthy Bergeron