The UN Women’s theme for International Day for the Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls, which is being celebrated today is ‘Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence Against Women and Girls’.According to UN Women, when world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, they recognised that ending violence against women and girls was a prerequisite for the achievement of the development agenda. Goal 5 on gender equality includes a specific target to end all forms of violence against women, including trafficking, other forms of sexual violence and harmful practices.Despite this, the body pointed out that the resources dedicated to addressing the issue still do not match the scale of the challenge; it also emphasised that allocating adequate resources to prevent and address violence against women is not only a legal obligation and a moral imperative, but a sound investment, too.One in three women around the world experience violence in their lifetime, often in the hands of someone they know, love and trust. Of all women who were victims of homicide globally in 2012, almost half were killed by intimate partners or family members.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 liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life” (Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, UN General Assembly, 1993).Violence against women has been declared a global pandemic and human rights violation. In the male dominated world-view, the role of women in the family, home, relationship and society have been taken for granted and this taken-for-granted-ness has led to the perpetuation of violence in several forms. Such acts of discrimination impact the socioeconomic wellbeing of women and girls impeding progress in areas such as poverty eradication, HIV/AIDS, peace and security.In her statement for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2016, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka highlighted effective interventions, and reiterated that the pandemic of violence against women and girls can end, but it will need commitment and investment nationally and internationally. Violence against women and girls, a gross human rights violation, devastates lives, causes untold pain, suffering and illness. It also incurs high economic costs. A recent study estimated that the cost of intimate-partner accounted for 5.2 per cent of the global economy.Beyond the direct medical and judicial costs, violence against women takes a toll on household and national budgets through lost income and productivity. In Viet Nam, for example, expenditure and lost earnings resulting from domestic violence was estimated at 1.4 per cent of GDP in 2010. In the United Kingdom, the cost of domestic violence in 2009, including service-related costs, lost economic output and human and emotional costs, amounted to 16 billion pounds sterling. In Guyana, the Women and Gender Equality Commission, which joined with many other organisations to speak out on the occasion, also acknowledged that one of the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide is financing. As a result, they pointed to the glaring reality that resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls are severely lacking.In their bid to reinforce the point that there is much more work to be done in Guyana to ensure that the Prevention of Discrimination Act and the Constitutional provisions on non-discrimination and equality are enforced, they pointed to the overall economic impact of tackling the existing issues which can actually contribute to the prevention of violence against women and girls.“Advancing women’s equality could potentially add $12 trillion to the world’s economy…and in emerging economies, women reinvest 90 cents of every additional dollar of income in their families’ education, health and nutrition compared to 40 cents for men. It is therefore important to see gender equality as a critical economic issue. It is imperative that 100% of the population is given ample opportunity to contribute skills and intellect to its development and growth,” the Women and Gender Equality Commission said in its statement.