UN Women and World Design Organization team up to develop innovative, human-centric design solutions to prevent violence against women and girls

Date: Monday, August 3, 2020

[Press release]

Montreal (Canada), 3 August 2020 — UN Women in Asia and the Pacific and World Design Organization (WDO)® have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together to identify design solutions to support the prevention of violence against women and girls (VAWG). The collaboration between the two organizations aims to address this violence through the lens of design to identify human-centric, solution-based initiatives that will contribute to achieving multiple development outcomes including better health, education, civic participation and gender equality.

Violence against women is learned. It is, at its core, driven by a basic acceptance of gender inequality and the belief that women and girls are less valuable than men and boys. A critical path to prevent and respond to this type of violence is therefore to instill early on, the foundations of gender equality guided by empathy, understanding and mutual respect. And while enacting systemic change is difficult, evidence shows that violence against women can be reduced in years, not generations as previously thought.

Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director, UN Women Asia and the Pacific, notes that "violence against women and girls is one of the greatest injustices of our time, which crosses all borders, generations, nationalities and communities. It deeply touches our hearts and our minds. We are in constant search of innovative and creative solutions to move people emotionally and act to end violence against women in Asia and the Pacific. We are thrilled to collaborate with WDO to come up with new ideas”. 

Preventing the occurrence of violence in the first place not only eliminates immediate injury and trauma, but also inhibits the intergenerational spread of physical, psychological and socio-economic effects. Stopping this violence therefore benefits women, children and families, as well as entire communities and societies. 

Utilizing the strategic, solution-based framework of design, new opportunities for breaking the cycle of violence can be identified and implemented. By designing accessible, thoughtful products, systems and services, designers can work to deconstruct and address the cultural implications of VAWG, while building tools and resources that empower and protect vulnerable individuals.  

"We need to recognize that design is an important and integral part of the development process and our intent is to encourage government, industry and community to think about design as a means to solve problems" stated WDO President Srini Srinivasan. "We are truly pleased to enter into this collaborative initiative with UN Women Asia Pacific and hope to leverage this opportunity to use design as a tool to drive positive and replicable solutions for people affected by violence against women and girls."

UN Women and WDO have committed to begin their partnership by launching a two-week virtual workshop in August 2020 that will bring together professionals across various sectors to co-design innovative solutions. The ‘Generation Equality Asia Pacific Design Challenge’ will strive to promote behavior change to reduce violence against women by (i) enlisting community leaders and influencers; (ii) leveraging media to challenge stereotypes,  (iii) moving people emotionally and empathically to act, (iv) changing the mindset that VAW is normal, and (v) influencing parents to raise children to reject harmful gender stereotypes and violence. 

Outcomes of this collaborative initiative will be explored in the hope it will bring tangible results for women and girls, first in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as replicable solutions for people who have been affected by violence against women worldwide.

 

Media Contacts:

  • Natalie Dutil, WDO Communications Manager: natalie@wdo.org 
  • Mike Drach, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific: michael.drach@unwomen.org

About UN Women 
UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women has a universal mandate to provide, through its normative support functions, operational activities and coordination role, guidance and technical support on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s rights, across all levels of development and in all regions. Under this mandate UN Women leads the work on elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG) within the United Nations system.

About World Design Organization
World Design Organization (WDO) is an international non-governmental organization and the international voice for industrial design. We advocate for Design for a Better World, promoting and sharing knowledge of industrial design-driven innovation that enhances the economic, social, cultural, and environmental quality of life. Today, WDO services over 170 member organizations, representing thousands of industrial designers around the world.