Opinion

How Violence Against Women Hurts Productivity And Profits

The cost of violence against women further generates substantive economic costs, which includes reduced productivity and profits. This was highlighted during the 16 Days of Activism Forum that was organised
30 Nov 2015 10:20
How Violence Against Women Hurts Productivity And Profits
The panelists for 16 Days of Activism. From left: Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, Glenn Davis, Tura Lewai, Eseta Nadakuitavuki and Shamima Ali.

The cost of violence against women further generates substantive economic costs, which includes reduced productivity and profits.
This was highlighted during the 16 Days of Activism Forum that was organised by the Ministry of Women and the forum was officially opened by the Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Siddiq Koya.
The forum held on Thursday last week at the Fiji National University Pasifika Campus enabled the representatives from Government and those from Non-Government Organisations like FWCC (Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre) to have a panel discussion on the theme, “Violence against Women- the Cost to Fiji.”
In his opening address, Minister Koya pointed out that violence against women has direct and indirect impacts on the economy.
“On a personal or individual level, women survivors of violence are forced off work due to emotional and physical injuries and stigma.
“This results in high level of absenteeism and lost earning, which can account for 21 per cent of a woman’s monthly income. One can add to these the resultant medical bills of the victim.
“Societies are left poorer with children being neglected and in fact research has shown that children whose mothers are abused tend to repeat classes or are school dropouts and become aggressive in their behavior,” Minister Koya said.
Statistics from the Reserve Bank of Fiji shows that the direct and indirect cost of violence against women is approximately $210.69million per year.
“This accounts to roughly seven per cent of GDP. These are costs incurred by law enforcement agencies such as the Police through vehicle use, criminal investigations, forensic services, restraining orders and judicial system through prosecution and defense, court time, legal aid, jury costs, witness time, hearings and decisions including probation and parole to name a few.
“There is also revenue foregone by Government in the form of lost tax revenue from reduced output and lower profits to industries as a result of violence.
“Take for instance the Textiles Clothing and Footwear (TFC) industry which is a vital contributor to our economic and employs approximately 6000 workers with women making up to 80 per cent of employees.
“In 2014, 543 new jobs were created by the industry, its expected revenue for the year is $130m with new investments to reach $36.9m. This industry depends largely on women and their productivity,” Minister Koya elaborated.
Minister Koya also outlined the measures taken by the Fijian Government to promote the socioeconomic empowerment of women.
“There are specific programs that are currently benefiting Fijian women which includes women in business be it micro, small, medium or large enterprises. Under the Fiji First Government’s Micro and Small Business Grant Facility, a total of 3,122 grant recipients received their business grant of up to $1000. Of these 1,131 or 36 per cent of the recipients are women entrepreneurs. Under the “Fijian Made-Buy Fijian Campaign,” 98 or 56 percent licensed users of Fijian crafted brand are women.
“The above examples speak volume of the ability of women-and their ability to engage in business. I dare say and it is a known fact that women are better custodian of finances. This strengthens reason to respect women and more so to eradicate violence against women,” Minister Koya said.
The Forum also highlighted on the importance of laws like Domestic Violence Decree to ensure the safety and wellbeing of victims of domestic violence and to adhere with Fiji’s international obligations under CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women).

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