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From costing to action: Generating evidence on the economic impacts of gender-based violence for businesses in Mexico and Colombia

Gender-based violence (GBV) remains a pervasive global problem, with 70% of women worldwide reporting at least one form of physical or psychological violence from a partner (UN Women). A 2018 report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime found that the likelihood of women being killed by relatives or intimate partners has increased by more than 10% since 2012. A Small Arms Survey in 2016 revealed that among the 25 countries with the highest rates of femicide in the world, 14 are in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Calculating the economic impacts of GBV can be a valuable tool to encourage investment in prevention, particularly by untapped stakeholders such as the private sector. Most costing studies focus on the economic impacts of violence for individuals, societies, and the state, and less so for businesses. There is a need to capture indirect and intangible costs of various forms of violence, and to advocate for better data availability to ensure quality research and cross-country studies.

This project aims to expand the evidence on the economic costs of GBV as a tool to leverage responses to prevent violence by the public and private sector. It will examine the prevalence and experiences of domestic violence for survivors, perpetrators, and witnesses, and will calculate how its spillover effects in the workplace hinder labour productivity, generating costs borne by enterprises. The goal of the project is to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of violence prevention and to promote investments in the workplace.

The project, led by the University of San Martin de Porres (USMP) in Peru, will strengthen the technical capacities of teams to conduct research in Mexico and Colombia. These two countries have very competitive and business-sustainable economies that also report high incidences of GBV (44% and 66% respectively). New evidence in these two countries will add to the regional body of research built by USMP with support from the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Bolivia, Peru, and Paraguay. In this way, IDRC is leveraging resources from other partners to expand this timely and relevant body of knowledge.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
24 months
IDRC Officer
Nicholas Benequista
Total Funding
CA$ 442,900.00
Governance and Justice
Institution Country
Project Leader
Aristides Vara-Horna
Universidad de San Martín de Porres

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