Global peace index ignores violence against women

// 29 July 2007

svaw.jpgAn index ranking countries on their peacefulness fails to take into account violence against women, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

Norway tops the index, which was compiled by a commercial offshoot of The Economist magazine. The UK comes 49th, with the US trailing at 96th. The index bottoms out with Russia, Israel, Sudan and Iraq.

Although many of these rankings are fairly uncontroversial (Norway, peaceful? Who’d’a guessed), the CSM points out that the index is skewed by the exclusion of violence against women:

For example, Egypt was ranked 73. But more than 90 percent of Egyptian girls and women are subjected to genital mutilation. This gruesome practice causes many lifelong physical problems and claims the lives of countless women. It’s a terrible form of violence, but it wasn’t included in the index, otherwise Egypt would have ranked much lower.

More generally, the index fails to include domestic violence:

Chile ranked 16, but as in many Latin American nations (and nations worldwide), the incidence of wife battering is extremely high. For example, although this violence is still rarely prosecuted or officially reported, 26 percent of Chilean women suffered at least one episode of violence by a partner, according to a 2000 UNICEF study.

And I’m sure there are plenty more examples in the full index. For example, Hungary ranks a tranquil 18th, but Amnesty just produced a report revealing the failures of the country’s criminal justice system to prosecute rapists and protect women from sexual violence.

I’m really surprised that the index didn’t include some measure of violence against women: even in terms of the rape of women during conflicts around the world, let alone this type of “everyday” violence.

(via Feministing)

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