Economic and social costs of violence against women and girls

New study examines the economic and social costs of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in Ghana, Pakistan and South Sudan.

The author(s)

  • John Kennedy Pubilc Affairs, UK
  • Sara Grant-Vest Public Affairs, UK
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Recently published research by Ipsos MORI, in partnership with the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), highlights significant economic and social costs of violence against women and girls (VAWG).

The research was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development (DfID) as part of Component_3 of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls programme. Ipsos MORI’s role was to undertake quantitative surveys of women and businesses in Ghana, Pakistan and South Sudan.

The study finds that VAWG has a detrimental impact on many aspects of the lives of women and girls. For example:

  • The national loss in productivity. In Ghana, this is estimated to be 65 million days annually through missing work and/or being less productive at work, equivalent to 4.5% of employed women not working.
  • Children’s education. The study estimates that some 2.4 million school days are missed in Pakistan each year. Missed schooling has a long-term impact on capabilities and future earnings of the children of women who experience violence.
  • Financial stability. VAWG can deepen household poverty; many women who experience VAWG bear increased costs due to violence, for example for medical care. The study finds that the South Sudanese women who used services due to VAWG incurred significant out-of-pocket expenditure: on average, over US$21 per survivor in a twelve-month period. To put this into context, some 80% of the population of South Sudan lives on less than US$1 per day.
  • Business losses. A new aspect studied for the first time through this research is the impact of VAWG on business. Businesses incur losses due to intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence experienced by their female employees outside the workplace. For example, within the last 12 months:
    • In Ghana, one in four female employees in the businesses surveyed reported productivity loss, equivalent to 14 working days for each employee affected. In Pakistan, the figure rises to one in seven – equivalent to 17 working days for each employee affected.
    • In South Sudan, approaching three in ten (28%) female employees in businesses surveyed reported productivity loss, equivalent to 10 working days for each employee affected.

Dr Nata Duvvury of NUI Galway and overall Principal Investigator commented:

This research lays out in simple terms the heavy burden that VAWG places on economic activity in any country. It demonstrates that preventing violence is necessary and important to integrate into Government policies and budgets on a priority basis to secure prosperity and guide the economy in a sustainable and inclusive path.

Further information, including full technical details of the study undertaken is available on the What Works website. Please also see an article written by Dr. Nata Duvvury and Dr. Stacey Scriver from NUI Galway, published in Ipsos MORI’s publication Understanding Society: A Woman’s World.


Contacts:

John Kennedy, Public Affairs, Associate Director, Ipsos MORI
Sara Grant-Vest, Public Affairs, Research Director, Ipsos MORI
Dr. Nata Duvvury, Co-Director, Centre for Global Women’s studies

Ipsos undertook fieldwork in Ghana, Pakistan, and South Sudan between June 2016 and December 2017. An in-home survey of women and girls aged 18+ was carried out in each country alongside a head of household survey, an employee survey, and manager survey. In total, between 2,000 and 3,000 face-to-face interviews with women and girls and household heads were undertaken in each country. In addition, employees in c. 100 businesses in each country were invited to complete a self-completion survey. Managers and business owners in c. 25 firms in each country were also surveyed face-to-face.

Web links:

What Works
Centre for Global Women’s studies, NUIG
International Center for Research on Women
Understanding Society: A Woman’s World

The author(s)

  • John Kennedy Pubilc Affairs, UK
  • Sara Grant-Vest Public Affairs, UK

Society