Mauritius: Top Women’s Rights Issue for Government to Address

Gender-based violence (GBV) in Mauritius is a significant concern that has gained increasing attention from policymakers, activists, and the public in recent years.

Development Diaries reports that GBV ranks at the top of women’s rights issues that citizens say their government and society must address, according to a 2024 report by Afrobarometer.

According to 2021 data from the government of Mauritius and the United Nations, one in four women in the country has experienced some form of GBV.

Data from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) indicates that, in addition to depriving countless women of their basic human rights, GBV is anticipated to cost the government two billion rupees annually, or 0.6 percent of GDP, in lost productivity, social services, and health care.

Prevalence studies on GBV in Mauritius indicate that it is a pervasive problem affecting both women and men, although women are disproportionately affected.

According to data from the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare in Mauritius, various forms of GBV, including physical, sexual, emotional, and economic violence, occur across different settings such as households, workplaces, and communities.

One of the challenges in addressing GBV in Mauritius, as in many other countries, is underreporting due to social stigma, fear of reprisal, economic dependence, and cultural factors that may discourage survivors from seeking help or reporting incidents to authorities.

The Mauritian government has taken steps to address GBV through legislation, policies, and programmes aimed at prevention, protection, and support for survivors, but challenges persist.

Some of the challenges include the need for increased public awareness, capacity-building for service providers, improving access to justice for survivors, and addressing underlying socio-cultural norms that perpetuate violence.

The Mauritian Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare must strengthen prevention strategies, enhance support services, and promote a culture of gender equality and respect to eliminate GBV in all its forms.

Photo source: USAID

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