CARE’s Work to End Gender-Based Violence

CARE’s Work to End Gender-Based Violence

Publication info


What Is Gender-Based Violence?

Gender-based violence (GBV) refers to any harm perpetrated against a person’s will on the basis of gender — the socially ascribed differences between males and females. GBV is rooted in historically unequal power between men, women, boys and girls. Women and girls are often targets because of social norms and beliefs that perpetuate their second-class social status. Gender-based violence also refers to the violence directed at people who do not conform to traditional gender roles and norms, including LGBT people.

GBV includes physical, sexual and psychological abuse of women and girls (and in some cases men and boys) in the home, community, workplace and in schools; trafficking; traditional practices such as female genital cutting and honor crimes; and sexual violence and exploitation during and after conflicts and natural disasters.

CARE’s Work to End Gender-Based Violence

Gender-based violence is both a cause and a consequence of poverty and gender inequality.

At the household and community levels, threats, harassment or actual violence in and around schools limits women’s and girls’ mobility and consequently their livelihood opportunities and ability to access educationhealth and to participate in political processes. Gender-based violence also has enormous economic cost in terms of health services, police and legal services, decreased productivity, family income and food security.

Our Strategy for Ending GBV

Ending poverty requires addressing the power inequalities between women and men, girls and boys that underpin gender-based violence.

CARE is committed to supporting the empowerment of poor women and girls in their challenges to enjoy happy and healthy lives and to change the contexts in which they live, learn, work and raise families.

This includes the organization’s dedication to working with women and men in all settings to confront gender-based violence, which affects at least one in three women worldwide.

CARE’s holistic approach to gender-based violence combines prevention with comprehensive service delivery, and addresses root causes driving various forms of gender-based violence and gender discrimination.

In more than 40 countries around the world, CARE works with issues of GBV, including providing critical medical, legal, psychosocial and protection services to people experiencing violence (primarily women and girls), and provides local activists with assistance and support to link with others to provide case management to survivors, advocate for improved policies and laws, raise awareness and change local norms that perpetuate violent behavior.

Research & Tools

Our research advances understanding of the complex causes and consequences of GBV, what strategies work to prevent violence and how this information can be used to improve programming. CARE has developed innovative tools to help staff and communities understand and clarify their own values in relation to gender societal norms that influence violence. Our Inner Spaces Outer Faces Initiative (ISOFI) and Social Analysis and Action toolkits use participatory methods to address underlying, often subconscious, beliefs and biases related to gender inequity and sexuality to build capacity of staff and communities to challenge negative social norms. We also have a variety of technical tools and resources, training materials, and our cutting edge research on gender integration and engaging men and boys.

Check out our newest research on the Intergenerational Transmission of Violence, GBV M&E Guidance for Non-GBV Programs, and Child Marriage, and Gender Integration.

Stay tuned for exciting new research on Social Norms that CARE is conducting in Sri Lanka.

CARE’s GBV Technical Capacity

Like all CARE programs, CARE’s GBV projects are planned and managed locally. In addition, CARE’s gender experts provide technical support on program quality and capacity building to staff in countries where we work. Project managers and gender advisors share information and lessons learned through global gender- and GBV-themed working groups, the community website Gender Wiki and the CARE Gender Toolkit, an online resource with over 100 tools for gender analysis.

The Path Ahead

There is increasing attention being paid to GBV globally and the international community has better understanding than ever before about what works to address the problem. CARE and partners have made great strides in addressing GBV, but much more work is needed to engage individuals, communities and institutions in preventing violence. Everyone has a role to play.