The Equality Institute

Sustainable Development Goals and Violence Against Women and Girls

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Evidence suggests that unless we end violence against women and girls (VAWG) globally, we won’t achieve at least 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This paper explores the links between each of those 14 SDGs and VAWG.

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Three traditional Vietnamese women, working in rice fields in the north of Vietnam


Evidence shows VAWG relates to poverty, hunger, poor health and well-being, maternal death, poor education, climate change adaptation, energy and environmental burdens, economic hardships, and societal insecurity. As such, ending VAWG cannot be separated from actions that help address these issues. This paper analyses how VAWG intersects with 14 of the 17 SDGs and provides key recommendations for governments and development partners to take action.


The brief supports governments and development partners across the globe. Relevant target actions with their measurement indicators are provided for each of the 14 SDGs to help policymakers hone in on specific areas of action where VAWG prevention should be integrated.


This paper was written by The Equality Institute, in consultation with violence prevention practitioners across the globe. The paper draws on the latest evidence to present key recommendations and priorities aligned with relevant SDG indicators.


Violence is preventable. Investing in, and prioritising, the prevention of violence against women and girls is critical for achieving positive social, economic and political impacts for all. VAWG costs countries/governments billions of dollars in healthcare and legal costs – all of which could be saved and redirected to other needs – if it were prevented. In 2016, the cost of VAWG globally was approximately US$1.5 trillion. That is approximately 2% of the global gross domestic product (GDP), or roughly the size of the entire Canadian economy. Furthermore, not enough is invested in prevention. It is estimated that investment in prevention of violence against women and girls in the past five years has totalled approximately USD 2.042 billion, which is less than 0.2% of annual official development assistance. The SDG targets provide a vehicle for more solid investments.

SDG #1: No poverty. Globally, there are 122 women living in extreme poverty for every 100 men in the same age group (25-34 years).
SDG #10: Reduced Inequalities. Women face particular inequalities and violence because of their gender. However, risk of violence is exacerbated for women who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. For example, women and girls with disabilities experience domestic violence at 2 to 4 times the rate of other women.