International Women’s Day 2023

Today, we celebrate International Women’s Day. This year, UN Women and the United Nations marked DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality as this year’s theme. It draws attention to the fact that there is currently still a gender gap existing in digital access. Not only due to the underrepresentation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) education or career, but also the fact that they face online gender-based violence. Whereas digital technology is and can open doors for the global empowerment of women, girls, and other marginalised groups. Hence, we have to ensure that the digital world becomes safer, more inclusive, and more equitable.

We have used our digital platform to share various statements on previous International Days, organised webinars, and published publications concerning women, highlighting their needs, the faced barriers, and tools to work towards equity and a gender-sensitive approach in prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery. On a day celebrating innovation and technology for gender equality, we want to share our material with you once again with a short statement.


Statement Women’s Day 2023

The issues of gender in substance misuse are several and serious. They are, however, also often disregarded. Today, on International Women’s Day, WFAD underlines the importance of gender-sensitive approaches to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery. Addiction is generally discovered later among women than men, who face twice the stigmatisation and gendered barriers in accessing services. There is also a prominent interlinkage between substance abuse and gender-based violence, where addiction and substance abuse can act as both cause and effect: It can cause increased violence in a perpetrator, as well as survivors of gender based-violence turning to substance misuse to cope with the trauma. Furthermore, women who use drugs are five times more likely to have experienced violence than women who do not use drugs, whilst the violence reaches outside the scope of an intimate, or former, partner to professionals, service providers and people that are unknown.

Addressing gender within substance use means amplifying the voices of the silenced: Women and girls who are affected by gender-based violence, living in homelessness, who are pregnant or have children, that live in the refuge, who are sex workers, or who are in the criminal justice system. It also means raising awareness of questions about the lives, health and safety of people who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community and understanding the role of gender norms in addiction among men and boys. Topics of which WFAD have written and spoken.

Discussing sustainable approaches to drug policy cannot be done without addressing the complexity of gender. Therefore, today WFAD are highlighting the many publications and statements addressing a gender-sensitive approach to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery to shed light on the rights of the people who are often forgotten in debates, policies, health care, and statistics.


Publications

In the past years, the Gender Working Group has published various position papers elaborating on the needs of and the barriers faced by women and providing tools to implement to ensure gender-sensitive approaches in prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery.

The position paper is an exhaustive document elaborating on women and addiction, the stigma they face, the risks, the concept of recovery, crosscutting issues, and ways forward to allow women with substance use disorders to receive the necessary services while reducing barriers to their treatment and recovery.
Access the full paper here – Access the infographic here
This paper aimed to create a global understanding of the different needs, incentives, and effects for/on girls and women who use substances. It highlights that prevention is an essential part of the continuum of care framework while promoting health and well-being.
Access the full paper here – Access the infographic here
Together with Dianova, we published an infographic and a paper that
make gender barriers in the treatment of addictions visible and proposes ways to
overcome them.
Access the full paper here – Access the infographic here

Webinars

On International Women’s Day, the Gender Working Group organised a webinar titled: Champions of Recovery. Women with experience in Recovery shared their inspiring, touching, and personal stories with us. Additionally, a panel of experts showcased the need for [gender-sensitive] prevention, treatment, reintegration, and recovery and provided insights into best practices.
Rewatch the Webinar here
Read the Summary here
As part of the Prevention Webinar Series (a five-fold series focusing on different areas of prevention), one webinar highlighted gender-based violence prevention approaches, including various speakers from the working group. The topic is essential to put on the agenda in governments as well as establish services on the ground.
Re-watch the webinar and read the full summary here
To commemorate Orange Day 2020, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a webinar was organised to highlight the importance of the day. The following topics were discussed: The Realities of Violence against Women and Addiction amidst COVID-19; The Impact of Drug Addiction on Violence against Women; Violence against Women (SUDs) and response approach by Law Enforcement, and; Gender and Drug Abuse among Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Rural Areas of Uganda
Get access to the recordings and summary here

Previous Statements

Orange Day and the 16 Days of Activism – November 2022
On Orange Day (also known as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), the Gender Working Group published a statement highlighting the theme of 2022 to Unite for activism to end violence against women. Following Orange Day, the Gender Working Group published statements daily during the 16 days of activism until December 10th, the International Day of Human Rights. Each day, the statements highlighted different issues faced by different specific populations regarding violence perpetrated against them.
Find all the statements here  

International Women’s Day – March 8th 2022
To commemorate International Women’s Day and highlight the need to recognise and include women’s leadership to improve prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery services, a statement was made.
Read the full statement here  

Orange Day (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) – November 25th 2021
To share the importance of Orange Day, a statement was published.
Read the full statement here  

World Children’s Day – November 20th 2021
To commemorate World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse (November 19th) and World Children’s Day, WFAD Gender Working Group published a statement highlighting the importance to provide and ensuring a safe environment for children to grow up in.
Read the full statement here  

International Women’s Day – March 8th 2021
To commemorate International Women’s Day, a statement was published on behalf of the WFAD Gender Working Group.
Read the full statement here  

Orange Day (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) – November 25th 2020

To share the importance of Orange Day, a statement was published. Read the full statement here

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