Resolution on Violence Against Women and Girls

published 22 July 1995 updated 31 March 2017

Violence against women and girls must be analysed as a means of pressurising and controlling women, with its roots in the unequal distribution of power between women and men which still exists, and thus forms a major obstacle to the realisation of the effective equality of women and men.


"1. ... The term "violence against women" means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of freedom, whether occurring in public, or in private life. 2. Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the following: a. Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including beating, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape , female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation; b. Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere trafficking in women and forced prostitution; c. Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs." (excerpts from the resolution 48/104 on the elimination of violence against women adopted by the UN, December 1993)

The Education International First World Congress meeting in Harare (Zimbabwe) from 19 to 23 July 1995:

1. Strongly condemning violence against women and girls, which is a violation of basic human rights;

2. Considering that violence is a universal phenomenon, irrespective of culture, religion or political regime, present in both developed and developing societies, in all social classes (whether or not rich, educated, extensive, or affected by unemployment), as much in towns as in the countryside;

3. Taking into consideration the fact that currently, in 95% of cases of violence surveyed in the world within the family community, man is the aggressor and takes out this violence in all forms, from the simplest to the most sophisticated: beating, deprivation, isolation, withdrawal of care, intimidation, threats, sexual violence...;

4. Noting that violence against girls and women teachers at school is not only carried out by teachers, but also by pupils against teachers and other pupils;

5. Considering that the media must bear its share of responsibility, as a reflector and a producer of violence against women, through the images it projects of women;

6. Rising up against the traditions, habits and customs present in certain parts of the world, in the name of which girls and women are still oppressed and victims of prejudice, taboos and acts of violence such as genital mutilation or the immolation of widows on their dead husband's pyre;

7. Strongly condemning rape and particularly the use of rape as a tool of war;

8. Noting that many women all over the world are persecuted for having dared to claim the most basic of rights, particularly their socio-economic and political rights;

9. Concerned by the irreversible consequences that all these forms of violence have on women's health, whether physical problems such as illness, disability, malnutrition, premature death or psychological problems such as depressions, despair, anxiety, total lack of self-confidence;

10. Welcoming the nomination of a Special Rapporteur on violence against women by the General Secretary of the United Nations;

The Congress calls immediately on governments to:

11. Clearly condemn all forms of violence against women and girls;

12. Adopt and carry out all measures to eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls, in accordance with the UN Resolution 48/104 "Declaration on the elimination of violence against women" and to censure the authors of all forms of violence;

13. Ban all practices which are harmful to the health of women and girls such as genital mutilations initiation rites or other dowry-linked forms of violence;

14. Carry out multi-media information and awareness-raising campaigns, in order to render more accessible social norms which consider violence against women and girls to be unacceptable;

15. Draw up and implement health and sex education programmes including all necessary information regarding the harmful effects of such practices on the health of women and girls;

The Congress invites EI member organisations to:

16. Demand that educational systems be committed to bringing about change in behaviours of men and women, boys and girls so that equality can be achieved and the cycle of sex stereotyping can be ended;

17. Develop and implement consciousness-raising and information campaigns:

a. to stress the importance of the discussion of these issues by teachers;

b. to make its members aware that non-violent behaviour in their own home could have beneficial effects in all areas of life;

Role of Education International

EI should:

18. Work closely with the United Nations Special Rapporteur and with intergovernmental organisations to develop resource materials on the topic of violence against women and girls;

19. Combat all forms of violence against women and girls through the implementation of a long-term trade union plan of action which will:

a. wage the struggle in cooperation with women's organisations and organisations for the defence of human rights;

b. determine a strategy aimed at the teaching profession in liaison with organisations for the defence of human rights;

c. cooperate with organisations representing parents;

20. Encourage the UN to collect information and statistics on this subject in the various regions, and to disseminate that information among the member organisations;

21. Develop a dossier on violence against women and girls for use in all its cooperation and development projects.