Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) is now recognised, in line with international human rights standards, as a violation of women’s human rights. National efforts have been made in recent years to adopt national legislation, strategies, and policies to effectively address and prevent such violence.
In 2019, the Regional Civil Society Observatory on VAWG (RCSO) was established as an independent mechanism to follow up on the implementation of the Ministerial Declaration of the 4th Union for Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial Conference on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society (27 November 2017, Cairo), in the area of combatting all forms of VAWG, implementation of Women, Peace, Security Agenda (WPSA), and Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE). RCSO is hosted by EuroMed Feminist Initiative (EFI) in Amman and is funded by the European Union (EU) in the frame of the three years regional project “Combating Violence against Women and Girls in the Southern Mediterranean”.
The RCSO strives to contribute to ending VAWG, to the inclusion of women’s rights in policy debates, and to the social acknowledgement of women as actors of sustaining peace and security, underlining the importance of their role in the prevention of violent extremism. In this regard, the RCSO provides a regional perspective on the status of VAWG legislation, policies, and actions in the Southern Mediterranean States.
To this goal, the RCSO developed in 2020 a Regional Index to help implementing a continuous follow up, data collection of laws and policies, and analyses of the barometer results. The countries studied in the index are limited to those involved in the regional project: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia. All countries in the South Mediterranean region will be included during the second phase.
In the 2021 Index, a scoring methodology was developed by the expert groups of the RCSO to allow monitoring progress and achievements made in combating VAWG. The group is consisted of academics and experts in the field of women rights and VAWG representing all Index countries. The expert group adopted the approach of composite indicators as clarified in the methodology.
Objectives of the Index
The overall objective of the Regional Index is to provide a global documentation on laws, public policies and services related to VAWG that allows a diagnosis of the state of legislation and tools put in place to address VAWG in the South Mediterranean.
This index provides policy makers with meaningful summary of complex data to support informed decisions and actions for the implementation of the 4th UfM Ministerial Declaration on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society, in the area of combatting all forms of VAWG.
It constitutes extensive data and information that will allow researchers to have a quick overview of the status of women in the countries concerned and carry out comparative studies. The index also enables women’s rights activists to follow up where gaps and weaknesses lie and thus make targeted and updated advocacy. Furthermore, the index provides a global picture for the international community on the progress and achievements made in each country in terms of combating VAWG.