International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Nov. 25, 2019 Weekly Graphs

November 25th marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The UN General Assembly chose this day to commemorate three Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic who were assassinated in 1960 for their political activism against the Rafael Trujillo regime. To further spread awareness about violence against women, we explore the development of Women Civil Liberties index in a historical comparative perspective using the V-Dem Country Graph Tool

The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 December 1993 recognizes all forms of violence against women, including physical or sexual harm, as well as, psychological implications. This document is seen as one of the milestones for women’s rights globally. Although countless measures such are taken by the international community to address the issue of violence against women, it remains one of the main obstacles to democracy worldwide.

The graph demonstrates the development of women civil liberties at the national level, as exemplified by Dominican Republic, and international level, as for the world average. The index is understood to include freedom of domestic movement, the right to private property, freedom from forced labor, and access to justice for women. It is measured on an interval scale of 0 to 1 where 0 indicates the absence of civil liberties. 

While the world average has seen a modest but steady increase since the 1940s, the trajectory of Dominican Republic is different. After the assassination of the Mirabal sisters in 1960 and eventual ouster of the Trujillo regime, the scores of Dominican Republic skyrocketed. Although they initially subsequently decreased the following year, the scores did not fall to the initial level, but instead continued to increase steadily over time. For most of its history Dominican Republic has had higher value of women civil liberties than the world average, which can partially explain less violence against women and more participation in political activism. 

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