The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women states that “violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women” and that it is “one of the most crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men”. This violence comes in many forms and includes child marriage, female genital mutilation, intimate partner violence, sexual violence during conflict, and sexual harassment among others.
This Compendium has been developed with the conviction that for economies to reach peaceful, just and inclusive societies, they must accelerate action towards enacting and promoting enforcement of gender equality legislation, including the prohibition of child marriage. The law can be an extremely effective empowerment tool: it condemns practices that are no longer tolerated in society and protects the rights of those who in the absence of the law would otherwise be victims of intersectional forms of discrimination. For justice and the rule of law to work, better knowledge of the law, better promotion of the law and better law enforcement are crucial.