Violence against women is not only a cause but a consequence of the inequality between women and men. It violates and nullifies the enjoyment by women and girls of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Since the 1990’s, key international documents such as the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action and the UN CEDAW Committee’s General Recommendation No. 35 on gender-based violence against women (updating General Recommendation No. 19. General Recommendation) have spelt this out.

Reinforcing this recognition, the Istanbul Convention made it its fundamental principle. In framing the eradication of violence against women and domestic violence in the context of achieving gender equality in law and in practice, it recognises the structural nature of such violence and is a critical tool for the advancement of women’s equality with men. The Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2023 highlights violence against women as a major obstacle to gender equality. Preventing and combating violence against women and domestic is one of its five strategic objectives.

 Violence against women remains one of the most pronounced expressions of the unequal power relations between women and men. It is both a violation of the human rights of women and a major obstacle to gender equality.

Violence against women and domestic violence cannot be addressed without looking at gender equality issues. This is why the Istanbul Convention speaks about the “gendered” nature of violence against women or of “gender-based violence against women”. It addresses forms of violence that are directed against women because they are women and/or affect women disproportionately.


Conference: Gender equality and the Istanbul Convention: A decade of action, 11 May 2021

The theme of the conference marking the anniversary of the Istanbul Convention demonstrates the contribution which the Istanbul Convention is making to the advancement of gender equality. This conference highlights the need to tackle the roots of gender inequality and violence against women by combating gender stereotypes and sexism on the basis of the full range of Council of Europe standards, including the Council of Europe Recommendation on Preventing and Combating Sexism.

The conference is open to the public and will be livestreamed. A recording will be made available.