#PressforProgress on International Women’s Day

***Trigger warning. This article discusses violence against women and girls***


International Women’s Day (IWD) takes place around the world each year on March 8th. The day presents the opportunity to celebrate the many advancements towards gender equality and women’s rights while also shining a light on the ongoing discrimination and inequalities faced by many.

This year the theme of International Women’s Day is centred on promoting gender equality and ending all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls. In the last year the #metoo campaign and high level cases in the media have highlighted that sexual harassment and violence are reality for many women and girls.

On International Women’s Day, we encourage all people, including our members, supporters and faith communities across Ireland to work together to overcome the evil that is violence against women.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in Ireland and our world today. At least one in five women in Ireland experience domestic or sexual abuse during their lifetimes. According to Women’s Aid Ireland, in 2016, there were 16,946 disclosures of domestic violence against women noted during 19,115 contacts with Women’s Aid Direct Services.  There were 11,078 incidents of emotional abuse, 3,502 incidents of physical abuse and 1,671 incidents of financial abuse disclosed. The 2015 National Sexual Assault Trauma Unit Activity Report recorded that from 685 people who attended for rape or sexual assault, 92% of service users were women and 45% of service users identified themselves as students.

Increasingly, human rights experts, domestic and sexual abuse services and policy makers are pointing to gender inequality as a root cause of violence against women and girls. Elaine Storkey, theologian, sociologist and author of ‘Scars across Humanity’ states “The truth is that violence on such a scale could not exist were it not structured in some way into the very fabric of societies and cultures themselves. It could not continue if it were not somehow supported by deep assumptions about the value of women, or some justification of the use of power”.

It is important to be aware that women of faith can be victims of violence too. As leaders and members of faith communities we must ensure that the victims and survivors of sexual or physical violence are not silenced or blamed. Earlier this year, Christian women in the USA started the hashtag #SilenceIsNotSpiritual, highlighting the responsibility of people of faith not to be silent on issues of violence and abuse. Furthermore, faith communities have an important role in creating healing and restorative spaces for the women and girls impacted by violence.

There is no doubt that ending violence against women and girls requires the combined support of all of society, including faith communities. The time is now, to educate, raise awareness and put pressure on our elected representatives to make perpetuators accountable and to allocate adequate resources to services that support victims and their families.


Follow YWCA Ireland on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Join the International Women’s Day conversation using the hashtags #IWD2018, #Timesup and #PressforProgress.

Download our YWCA Ireland IWD 2018 Toolkit here: YWCA Ireland IWD Social Media Toolkit

Download our YWCA Ireland’s #PressforProgress Resource for Faith Communities here: 2018_IWD_ Faith Communities Resource

Domestic and sexual violence services in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland

National Support Services

Republic of Ireland

Northern Ireland

  • NexusNI
  • Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland and is open all women and men affected by domestic violence. 0808 802 1414 ( Open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year)

Local Support Services

Republic of Ireland

Northern Ireland

State Agencies

Republic of Ireland

Northern Ireland


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