There has been progress – 25 years ago only seven countries out of the 173 studied had laws against domestic violence, whereas now, 127 do. The author of the report cites the importance of international agreements such as the Beijing Platform for Action in creating such change. They certainly are important, but even more vital is the work of local women’s organisations.
As the World Bank report makes clear, legislation in itself is not enough. A large scale study across 70 countries covering the period 1975-2005 backs this up. It found that the mobilisation of women’s rights organisations and movements was more significant in creating policy change on violence against women than the wealth of nations, the presence of left-wing political parties, or the number of women politicians.