You need only read the front page of the newspaper or any major news site to know that violence against women continues to be a problem of epic proportions around the world. Dr. Claudia García-Moreno, Lead Specialist, Gender, Reproductive Rights, Sexual Health and Adolescence at the World Health Organization, spoke with IWHC President Françoise Girard about her research into violence against women at IWHC’s quarterly Leadership Council luncheon on December 3, 2014.

The event was opened and closed by Marlene Hess, IWHC Board chair.

“There’s many different forms of violence against women,” Garcia-Moreno said. “But one of the most common forms, across countries, across cultures, is violence by intimate partners. Last year we looked at all the data of what we could get our hands on, data from 80 countries, and we produced some global and regional estimates, and we found that 30 percent of women globally have experienced sexual or physical violence by an intimate partner.”

This shocking figure is reflected in the daily news, from recent reports of sexual assault on college campuses to the NFL player abuse scandal. But despite these grim headlines, Garcia-Moreno is optimistic that advocacy around gender-based violence has made a difference.

“I am optimistic because I have seen change. Twenty years ago, [violence against women] was seen as a women’s issue. But now, it’s seen as human rights violation, it’s a public health issue, it’s a development issue that impacts countries’ GDP, productivity. There’s economic impacts as well human impact and health impacts. That recognition was not there 20 years ago.” she said.

Read more about this event.

The IWHC Leadership Council is a special group of women and men who share a broad interest in the U.S. foreign policy agenda and are committed to women’s health and human rights globally. Learn more about the Leadership Council.