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In the past 18 months, by trapping women with their abusers, COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns have worsened the already-widespread violence against women while preventing many of them from getting help. But even those who do manage to contact the police come up against another long-standing challenge: a culture and system that treats the survivor as a big part of the problem.
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Gender-based violence crisis centres from six countries in the Pacific have faced not only the COVID-19 crisis, but also in some countries, the dual impact of a tropical cyclone. UN Women’s Ending Violence Against Women and Girls programme works in close collaboration with government, civil society organisations, communities and other partners to promote gender equality, prevent violence against women and girls, and increase access to quality response services for survivors, especially during emergencies.
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The city centre of Apia is festive today. The market stalls are laden with handmade mats, baskets and traditional jewellery made by women from rural Samoa; music and laughter lace the air. The two-day market is part of an event to showcase the results of a project that trained and empowered 5,170 Nofotane women in the course of the last two years, funded by UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality. In Samoa, the term ‘Nofotane’ refers to indigenous women who, after marriage, live in their husband’s village with the husband’s family.
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In Samoa, women marrying outside their home village are referred as “nofotane”. Nofotane women are often denied any voice in decision-making within their homes and communities. With the support of UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality, the Samoa Victims Support Group raised awareness and advocated for nofotane women’s rights. As a result, a nofotane representative now sits in village council meetings, and men and women alike are changing their attitudes about gender...
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UN Women is working with women market vendors in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to improve their working conditions, earning power and leadership skills.