The present essay is devoted to an investigation of the interrelationships between domestic violence (DV) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with a focus on the ways the latter can be used to reduce the former. In general, there is a bilateral relationship between the phenomena. As an initiative that aims to improve the quality of the life of people worldwide, MDGs are indeed capable of addressing DV indirectly through the goals that target its causes (Grose & Grabe 2014; Trinh et al. 2016). On the other hand, DV tends to hinder the achievement of MDGs (Öhman & Emmelin 2014). However, from the point of view of the future initiatives that will aim to reduce DV, the topic of the use of MDGs’ experience to reduce DV appears to be particularly important, especially in case the mistakes and restrictions of MDGs are taken into account. As a result, it can be suggested that the conclusions about the rather meager contribution of MGDs to the reduction of DV imply that future similar efforts in this direction have to include comprehensive and customized goals that are based on extensive and ongoing discussions of the global community, especially the people who are directly involved in the work with DV.
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Millennium Development Goals and the Reduction of Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence, Its Consequences, and Causes
Modern governments and international organizations, including the World Health Organization and the UN, realize that apart from the instances and consequences of DV, its causes should also be taken into account and addressed (Grose & Grabe 2014; Öhman & Emmelin 2014; Trinh et al. 2016). As a result, a review of the potential of MDGs for resolving the issue needs to analyze the contribution of the goals to the resolution of the instances, consequences, and causes of DV. Therefore, the three elements of DV need to be defined.
The term “domestic violence” refers to the violence that occurs among the people who belong to one family. The notion does not have to refer to the nuclear family: for example, in Australia, DV includes the violence that occurs in extended families and between ex-family members (Senate 2015). One of the specifics of DV is its notable gender-related discrepancy: females of different ages are much more likely to experience DV, and the most common form of DV is that perpetrated against women by their male intimate partners (Öhman & Emmelin 2014, p. 2). For example, in Australia, male victims constituted one-fourth of the partner-induced DV that resulted in homicide in 2012, and other types of DV demonstrated similar patterns (Cussen & Bryant 2015). Thus, DV is a significant issue that can affect people of all ages and sexes, but female people are more likely to experience it.
DV is a major social problem and one of the key health concerns of modern global society (Trinh et al. 2016). Some of the consequences of DV include issues like the deterioration of physical and mental health of the people who are involved in or witness DV, the loss of human lives, and the increased risks of homelessness and financial instability (Senate 2015). When considering the solutions for the consequences of DV, global organizations should take into account these factors and phenomena. Also, it is noteworthy that, according to the Australian Senate (2015), DV results in increased costs for the governments, for example, from the point of view of healthcare or police services. This factor can be used to illustrate the importance of addressing the issue from the perspective of society.
The reasons for DV are multiple and complex, but certain theories and patterns have been established (Hyde-Nolan & Juliao 2012). In particular, it is clear that some of the causes of DV include cultural (for example, polygyny or negative attitudes towards divorce), socioeconomic (for example, the lack of economic independence in women), and personal factors (for example, mental issues, substance abuse, and others) (Cussen & Bryant 2015; Das et al. 2015; Senate 2015; Trinh et al. 2016). It is also noteworthy that the causes of DV tend to interact. For instance, illiteracy can result in greater economic dependence of women on men, which increases the odds of the former experiencing DV at the hands of the latter (Das et al., 2015; Ferdous et al., 2017; Öhman & Emmelin 2014). Finally, it should be pointed out that the instances and some of the consequences of DV tend to become its reasons. For example, prior exposure to DV or mental issues can lead a person to perpetrate DV, and the socioeconomic consequences of DV can make a person vulnerable (financial instability is one of the causes of DV). The cyclic nature of DV seems to be apparent and highlights the importance of addressing the issue while also indicating that DV is an incredibly complex phenomenon that requires comprehensive solutions.
The mentioned causes have given rise to different theories of DV causation: in particular, the psychoanalytic and cognitive behavior theories focus on the personal characteristics that tend to lead to DV, and social theories review the interactions between social, cultural, and personal factors (Hyde-Nolan & Juliao 2012). Hyde-Nolan and Juliao (2012) also point out that cognitive behavior theories may also consider the interactions between society and personal behavior. Apart from that, there is the feminist approach to DV, which focuses on the gender issues and resulting DV (Grose & Grabe 2014), and systems theories, which review the dysfunctional relationships between family members that can lead to DV (Hyde-Nolan & Juliao 2012). To sum up, the attempts at explaining DV highlight the complicated nature of the phenomenon, and it seems that a system of approaches may be required to explicate the entirety of DV and its causes.
As the following analysis of MDGs can show, the feminist approach to DV has become rather important for the development of the goals. According to this approach, one of the most complex reasons for DV is gender inequality, which results in violence against women. For example, when investigating the reasons for DV against married women in Bangladesh, Das et al. (2015) conclude that the notions of the patriarchal culture and gender inequality can be viewed as the umbrella terms for all the causes that the participants reported, which were admittedly numerous. On the other hand, Hughes et al. (2015) discuss the economic reasons for gender inequality, pointing out the fact that women are more likely to experience poverty and less likely to be employed than men, which results in vulnerability and exposure to DV. Apart from that, the authors also indicate that while economic empowerment tends to result in the reduction of DV, in certain cultures, the effect can be detrimental, especially in case the empowerment results in gender role changes. Thus, gender inequality can be viewed as a socioeconomic issue that leads to DV, but it is also directly connected to certain cultural features that have similar effects (Grose & Grabe 2014). However, gender inequality and violence against women are not culture-specific: both are pervasive issues that affect every country in the world (Devries et al., 2013; Pallitto et al. 2012).
Some of the components and consequences of gender inequality that can lead to DV include the difference in power relationships between men and women, the lack of economic independence of women, and the existence of misogynist cultural norms, which, for example, can demand submissiveness from married women and approve of the use of DV by their husbands to achieve this kind of behavior (Das et al., 2015; Grose & Grabe 2014; Öhman & Emmelin 2014). Gender-specific DV also has some specific consequences, including unintended pregnancies and abortions (Pallitto et al., 2012). While it does not explicate every kind of DV, gender inequality can be viewed as a significant predictor of DV against women, which, in turn, is the most common type of the issue. Therefore, gender inequality is a complex cause of DV with specific components and consequences, and it needs to be addressed to combat the issue (Devries et al., 2013; Hughes et al., 2015).
To sum up, an analysis of DV suggests the following conclusions that are important for the present essay. DV is a significant social concern, which is very complex. As a result, the attempts at explaining its causes typically focus on some of the possible factors that can contribute to DV development. Still, the understanding of the causes appears to be necessary for the prevention of DV, and the modern global organizations realize that the prevention is as important as the alleviation of the instances of DV and its consequences.
Millennium Development Goals and the Reduction of Domestic Violence
Goals: A Description
MDGs include eight goals, which aim to improve the quality of life of humans on a global scale (Soni 2015). The first three goals can be viewed as equality goals: they aim to address the issue of extreme poverty, the lack of universal education, and the gender inequality problem. The next three goals target health: they demand the reduction of child mortality, the improvement of maternal health, and the elimination of various diseases. Finally, goal number seven promotes environmental sustainability, and the eighth one is concerned with the advancement of global partnership. All the goals received quantifiable targets with the deadline in 2015 (United Nations, n.d.a). As a result, MDGs and their targets do not explicitly address DV (Ford 2015), even though some of their goals can be viewed as helpful from the point of view of DV reduction as can be seen below (Öhman & Emmelin 2014).
The Potential for Reducing DV
Despite the lack of direct focus on the problem of DV (Kabeer 2005), some MDGs can have a positive impact on DV reduction. According to Öhman and Emmelin (2014), it has been suggested that even general goals like the development of partnerships for development can eventually result in DV reduction, for example, in case these partnerships address the issue. Such an analysis of MDGs seems to be appropriate because it demonstrates a systemic approach to social issues, but more direct connections between MDGs and DV can be found. In particular, it has been concluded that the reduction of poverty can have positive impacts on the reduction of DV and the improvement of gender equality because women’s poverty is very prominent and contributes to the power imbalance between sexes (Hughes et al. 2015; Öhman & Emmelin 2014; Trinh et al. 2016). For example, Hughes et al. (2015) state that one of the solutions for DV reduction consists of empowering women economically. Also, all the targets that involve the improvement of economic stability and independence can be viewed as contributing to the reduction of DV by addressing its causes (Trinh et al., 2016). Similarly, some of the goals include targets that directly consider the gender inequality reduction, including the first, second, and fifth ones (Ford 2015); as a result, they focus on a cause of DV and can lead to a DV decrease.
Moreover, the goal that appears to be directly aimed at a cause of DV is the third one (Grose & Grabe 2014). In it, the United Nations (n.d.a) intends to “promote gender equality and empower women,” which is expected to be achieved through the reduction (elimination) of inequalities in education. Education and literacy are indeed important for empowering women and reducing the power difference between men and women (Das et al., 2015; Kabeer 2005; Öhman & Emmelin 2014). For instance, Kabeer (2005) reports the evidence which indicates that educated women are more likely to be able and willing to take care of themselves (for example, to be employed or maintain their health), which makes them less vulnerable. The same author also cites the information that educated women are less likely to experience DV (p. 16). Therefore, the third goal is capable of contributing to DV reduction. However, it is noteworthy that the goal has been criticized for its meager coverage of the problem of gender inequality (Doyle & Stiglitz 2014; Heyzer 2005; Kabeer 2005). As a result, this goal has a small potential for the resolution of gender inequality issues and, consequently, DV.
Finally, multiple authors point out the fact that MDGs are important as a global acknowledgment of various social issues, including inequality and, potentially, DV (Doyle & Stiglitz 2014; Heyzer 2005; Öhman & Emmelin 2014). For instance, in 2005, Heyzer (2005) suggested that MDGs represent an “unprecedented global consensus and commitment,” which can be used to “energize” a variety of gender equality activities and initiatives (pp. 9-10). In other words, it can be implied that MDGs have the potential to have an indirect effect on DV reduction by attracting the attention of the global community to the issues that are known to cause DV. There is a possibility that MDGs can also draw attention to the issue of DV, in particular, as a component of the gender inequality issue (Pandey 2017) but, since the Goals do not name this issue, such an implication is not guaranteed.
To sum up, MDGs have the potential for reducing DV because some of their goals and targets address DV’s causes and consequences, including poverty and gender inequality. Also, MDGs are likely to attract the attention of the worldwide community to the issues that cause DV or even to DV itself. However, it is still apparent that MDGs do not address all the causes of DV comprehensively; for example, the issue of gender inequality has received a rather meager coverage (Fehling, Nelson & Venkatapuram 2013). Also, DV is not mentioned in any of the goals or targets, which is why the potential for the resolution of DV with the help of MDGs appears to be rather limited. Finally, it can be suggested that the feminist approach to social issues is visible in MDGs but, since DV is not mentioned in them, it is difficult to state that MDGs favor the feminist theory of DV causation.
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The Achievements of MDGs in DV Reduction
Langford (2016) suggests that MDGs’ impact has not been studied sufficiently to make conclusions about it (p. 169), but certain information about their outcomes is available. For example, the United Nations (n.d.a) reports that the third goal has been achieved to an extent, which means that gender disparity in education was reduced; also, the organization lists an increase in women’s employment and participation in governing bodies. However, the United Nations (n.d.a) also admits that the disparities in employment, wages, and political participation between the sexes are still present, and significant.
Technically, the third MDGs has offered a rather meager coverage of gender inequality issues (Doyle & Stiglitz 2014; Sen and Mukherjee 2014) for which it has been extensively criticized (Fehling, Nelson & Venkatapuram 2013). Apart from that, the achievements pertinent to this goal vary across countries. Gender inequality in primary education is reported to have been almost eliminated on a global scale by 2015 but, certain regions (for example, Sub-Saharan Africa) have retained some issues in this respect (Ford 2015, para. 4). At the same time, the Sub-Saharan Africa region demonstrated low gender parity in secondary and tertiary education in 2015, and the same could be said about western and southern Asia (Ford 2015, para. 5). Therefore, even the direct targets of goal number three do not seem to have been realized universally, which means that while the positive changes in the education disparities are supposed to have contributed to DV reduction, they have not been achieved on the expected scale.
Apart from that, it should be pointed out that DV itself is likely to have restricted the achievement of MDGs (Öhman & Emmelin 2014). One of the examples of such detrimental effects is the achievement of the goal that is aimed at improving maternal health and child mortality: DV contributes to the latter and can result in the deterioration of the former both directly and indirectly (Bradley 2017; Ferdous et al. 2017; Soni 2015). Indeed, DV directly harms the people involved in it, and women and children are particularly likely to become the victims (Cussen & Bryant 2015). At the same time, DV can affect certain behaviors of the victims. For example, Ferdous et al. (2017) find that in Pakistan, there is a statistically significant difference between health-seeking behaviors in women that experience DV and those who do not; the former tend to visit doctors less often, even during pregnancy. Thus, it can be suggested that the achievement of the goals that have the potential for the reduction of DV may have been hindered by DV itself.
It can be concluded that DV was not affected by MDGs to a significant extent (Rosche 2016, p. 113). However, an opinion has been voiced that MDGs have managed to draw public attention to the issue. In particular, Pandey (2017) points out that DV has been a tabooed topic viewed as a “private matter” in many societies for centuries but, MDGs have contributed towards the investigation and the search for solutions for the issue. Öhman and Emmelin (2014) also suggest that MDGs can be viewed as “a basis for changing gender relations” (p. 2). In general, the authors appear to consider MDGs as an important effort to acknowledge and address a variety of issues, including DV, which has resulted in increased attention to DV on a global scale. The UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan suggested that MDGs are important as an effort of coordinating the actions of the global community (Doyle & Stiglitz 2014, p. 6). Also, Babu and Kusuma (2016) and Pandey (2017) suggest that MDGs can be viewed as the first step towards the creation of more advanced Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To sum up, MDGs appear to be acknowledged as the first attempt at developing the initiatives of this kind, and their value is predominantly assessed from this point of view (Grose & Grabe 2014; Langford 2016). Thus, the key contribution of MDGs to the reduction of DV consists of attracting public attention to the issue and providing some lessons on the experience of developing global goals for the resolution of social issues.
UN on Lessons Learned: The Sustainable Development Goals and Domestic Violence Reduction
It is generally believed that an initiative that is similar to MDGs is capable of affecting the causes of DV or even DV itself (Rosche 2016). Moreover, some authors, including Rosche (2016), Sen and Mukherjee (2014), and Fehling, Nelson, and Venkatapuram (2013), believe that the experience of MDGs is capable of providing important lessons to future initiatives. In the view of the authors, these lessons can help to improve the initiatives and make them more effective in combating various issues, including gender inequality and DV.
MDGs have been criticized for multiple reasons. Some of these reasons include the rather arbitrary choice of the targets, the lack of attention to the majority of gender-related issues (excessive simplicity), and the incorrect premise that equal education implies equal opportunities (Kabeer 2015, p. 389). Other cited constraints of MDGs include, for example, the lack of culture-sensitive approaches (Fehling, Nelson & Venkatapuram 2013). It should be pointed out that certain attempts at customization were made: MDGs had different approaches meant for developed and developing countries. However, these approaches were deemed insufficiently diversified: in the end, the goals were proved to be excessively simple to achieve for the developed countries, but the developing ones have been struggling to produce similar results (Langford 2016).
Apart from that, the inadequate level of the involvement of various stakeholders in the process of goals’ development has been criticized: the opinion that the global community should have a greater opportunity for discussing global goals has been voiced (Fehling, Nelson & Venkatapuram 2013; Kabeer 2015). Heyzer (2005) points out the fact that the lack of stakeholder engagement and the subsequent arbitrary nature of the goals has succeeded in demoralizing human rights advocates, which highlights the significance of this problem. The problem can also be connected to the call for an evidence-based approach to global goal setting and the measurement of its progress with the help of trustworthy evidence (Heyzer 2005; Kabeer 2015). To an extent, MDGs fulfill this request (Rosche 2016), but the lack of specialist engagement is likely to have deprived the goal-setters of crucial information. Similarly, the criticisms of the substance of the goals (for example, the claims about their arbitrary nature) imply that additional research and thought might have been put into the process. Finally, Fehling, Nelson, and Venkatapuram (2013) point out the fact that some criticisms described MDGs as unachievable, which some of them proved to be, possibly, as a result of the above-mentioned restrictions.
It should be pointed out that the mentioned criticisms can be criticized in turn. For example, Langford (2016) highlights the fact that the issue of simplicity can be regarded as an advantage from the point of view of achievability, communicability, and customizability of the goals. However, the author also admits that the same simplicity resulted in the lack of attention to some significant aspects of the issues that the goals claimed to be targeting. Therefore, it can be concluded that the experience of MDGs can contribute important information on the potential pitfalls and drawbacks of the development and implementation of global goals. As a result, it is not surprising that the UN has already drawn some conclusions on MDGs, which helped the organization to develop new global goals: SDGs.
SDGs were developed in 2015 to proceed with the agenda of MDGs until 2030, and it can be claimed that SDGs incorporate the conclusions on the experiences and lessons of MDGs (Kabeer 2015; Janowski 2016; United Nations n.d.b). Unlike MDGs, SDGs directly require ending violence as a part of the fifth goal, which can be viewed as a gender equality goal (Rosche 2016; United Nations n.d.b). Apart from that, other goals contribute to the resolution of the issue of gender inequality. For example, the eighth goal requires promoting employment-related equality (Ford 2015) and the sixteenth one requires the development of inclusive societies (Babu & Kusuma 2016), which should affect cultural and social norms that lead to DV. Similarly, the issue of poverty, which is also one of the causes of DV, is also addressed through several of the targets of SDGs (Ford 2015).
The SDGs gender equality goal is viewed as a more comprehensive one when to compared to its predecessor; also, it is made actionable due to the provided timeframes and success measurement indicator (Babu & Kusuma 2016; Janowski 2016; Rosche 2016). Moreover, the goal is explicitly aimed at preventing and ending DV by addressing its socioeconomic and cultural causes with a focus on gender inequality and its outcomes (Babu & Kusuma 2016). It can be pointed out that the fact that the target of eliminating DV is included in the gender equality goal suggests that SDGs demonstrate a feminist approach to the issue. Also, it is noteworthy that SDGs are known to be based on the outcomes of public consultations with experts and famous people on the topics pertinent to the goals (Kabeer 2015; Langford 2016). Thus, it is apparent that SDGs have taken into account some of the lessons of MDGs, including the lack of attention to DV and the specialists in the field, the excessive simplicity, and the arbitrary goal-setting.
Langford (2016) points out that SDGs are not without flaws. For example, the author states that SDGs are less sensitive to the level of development of countries than MDGs. Apart from that, the author mentions the criticism of the quantity of SDGs, implying that such an extensive agenda can end up being unachievable. Here, it can be mentioned that the much less detailed and extensive MDGs faced the same criticism (Fehling, Nelson & Venkatapuram 2013). As a result, it can be suggested that the future initiatives, which are going to have access to the experiences and different outcomes of both MDGs and SDGs, will have a better understanding of the way global goals can be made achievable.
The above-mentioned authors and the UN appear to demonstrate a belief in the idea of using MDGs experience for the development of new, improved goals, which can address global issues to a greater extent. As a result, the criticisms of MDGs and, possibly, SDGs suggest the following conclusions about future efforts in the field of DV elimination.
Given the fact that DV is a major issue and concern for the global society and healthcare, it appears logical to highlight it in future efforts. As mentioned above, the lack of coverage of important social issues is one of the key criticisms of MDGs, which implies that DV needs to be more extensively discussed in future goals. To an extent, this recommendation is fulfilled by SDGs, but it should be pointed out that DV is predominantly viewed by SDGs from the point of view of the feminist approach, which can be proved by the fact that DV appears as a target in the gender equality goal. There is a justification for such an approach: as it has been mentioned, DV typically targets females. However, DV is not limited to female victims (or intimate partner victims), which is why such a perspective may signal one of the issues that MDGs have been criticized for: that SDGs are overlooking certain elements of complex problems. Thus, when addressing DV, it may be necessary to use several theoretical approaches to DV causation while paying appropriate attention to gender inequality as a very complex and important issue.
Similarly, it may be required to take into account the causes, consequences, and causes of DV to ensure a comprehensive approach. It can be argued that the prevention of the issue is a priority, but given the pervasiveness of the problem, the process of addressing its instances and consequences is also a significant part of the fight against DV. Also, the fact that DV is self-induced (with its causes often coinciding with consequences) implies that only a comprehensive approach is capable of resolving the issue.
Another important recommendation relates to the possibility of the local customization of the goals or the introduction of customization features into the goals themselves. SDGs are being criticized for the lack of customization, and MDGs were criticized for insufficient customization. As a result, it appears to be a necessary feature for truly effective global goals. As mentioned above, the possible dimensions of customization can include cultural and developmental ones. This recommendation can be met with criticism, referring to the fact that there are cultural causes for DV. However, this issue can be addressed through inclusive discussions of the prospective goals with the representatives of various cultures. Apart from that, the problem can be resolved in case MDGs’ experience of offering general and simplistic goals can be employed to provide the local governments with the opportunity for customizing the goals. However, there should be limits to the mentioned simplicity, which once again highlights the importance of open discussions of the goals to achieve meaningful compromises.
Indeed, the engagement of stakeholders appears to be important both for the improvement of the goals and the growth of the community’s interest in them. As it was mentioned, MDGs proved to be capable of demoralizing human rights advocates who are a major force in the process of resolving social issues. Apart from that, they tend to hold expert knowledge and experience, which can be of great use for the process of goal-setting. In general, global goals presuppose collaboration, which is expected to involve global and local organizations and funds that specialize in a variety of areas, including human rights. Individual specialists are also of great importance. Finally, it can be suggested that it is crucial to pay attention to the voices of non-specialists who have been directly involved in the issues that are supposed to be resolved. For example, the women who have suffered from DV can provide meaningful input on the possible gender equality solutions if they are willing to share their concerns and opinions. On the other hand, the men who have found themselves in a similar situation can attract the attention of the community to the fact that the issue is not limited to gender equality problems. In general, the search for solutions must take into account the information provided by the affected population. As a result of becoming a collaborative effort, future global goals are likely to have a greater potential for DV decrease when compared to MDGs that have neglected this aspect of the goal-setting process.
In addition to the latter recommendation, it is important to remember that global goals need to be evidence-based. To an extent, this feature was present in MDGs, but the criticism of arbitrary goal-setting implies that more research might have been required to determine the particularly urgent issues. Also, the fact that the issues were reported to be insufficiently covered by MDGs, the possible solutions might have needed more research as well. Finally, the lack of stakeholder engagement implies limited perspectives, especially since DV victims were not involved in the goal-setting. Therefore, the above-mentioned discussions are likely to contribute to the fulfillment of this recommendation. Apart from that, specific research efforts would be expected to be particularly successful in producing unbiased evidence. This kind of research can also be used to make the voices of DV victims heard and analyzed for actionable knowledge. Thus, the recommendation of collaboration is directly connected to that of collecting evidence.
All these recommendations may meet the above-mentioned criticism related to the excessive complexity of a goal. However, it should be pointed out that SDGs have not yet been implemented for a sufficiently long time to provide suggestions on the effectiveness of complex goals. In other words, there exists a relatively well-documented experience of introducing simplistic goals, but that for more complex ones is not yet available. As a result, it can be concluded that simplistic goals have several disadvantages, which can lead to failures and this factor appears to demonstrate the superiority of complex goals for the time being.
The final recommendation that the present essay seems to imply consists of the fact that the UN, other global and local organizations, and individual researchers need to pay attention to MDGs and SDGs. As was mentioned above, the analysis of MDGs, their outcomes, and the reasons for their outcomes may be lacking. Also, concerns have been raised about the means of assessing the outcomes. At the same time, the present essay shows that MDGs can be viewed as an important social experiment that needs to be studied for the sake of the success of future global initiatives. The same argument can be relevant for SDGs; in fact, the study of the goals’ implementation process may be easier at this point since SDGs are an ongoing project. Given the fact that the two initiatives are rather different, their comparative analysis becomes particularly important. The investigation of the projects and the application of their experience to future initiatives are necessary for the successful elimination of DV on the global scale. To sum up, the present essay indicates that MDGs’ experience and conclusions on their experience are capable of providing recommendations on the specifics of the future DV reduction goals.
Having reviewed the key features of DV and the contribution of MDGs to its reduction, the present essay can offer the following conclusions. Modern global efforts intend to target DV, and global organizations seem to realize the significance of taking into account the causes, consequences, and causes of DV. MDGs had some potential for reducing DV, which was predominantly connected to addressing some of its causes, including gender inequality and poverty. However, it can be stated that MDGs did not succeed in eliminating inequality or DV, although certain achievements in the area have been made.
On the other hand, the significance of MDGs should not be underestimated. In particular, MDGs have served to attract more attention to gender imbalance issues, which, in turn, are connected to DV. Moreover, MDGs can be viewed as a major experiment on global goal-setting, which makes their low effectiveness very important for future initiatives. An analysis of the criticisms of MDGs can be used to make recommendations for future initiatives, and the present essay demonstrates that it can yield some information on the specifics of potentially helpful DV reduction goals.
This conclusion is supported by the fact that the UN appears to have incorporated some of the lessons of MDGs in the SDGs’ development process. The MDG’s criticisms that seem to have been taken into account during the development of SDGs include those related to the excessive simplicity and the lack of attention to DV in the previously existing goals. Indeed, unlike MDGs, SDGs directly address DV, but it should be pointed out that they seem to view DV from the perspective of the feminist DV causation theory. While DV against women is the most common type of DV, such an approach still implies the lack of a comprehensive view on the issue, which is one of the most important criticisms of MDGs. As a result, SDGs may not have succeeded in effectively using the entire experience of MDGs.
Despite this conclusion, it is apparent that social experiments of such scale need to be studied for the sake of future initiatives. In particular, the present essay has discovered that features like the lack of focus on the components of complex issues and the specifics of different cultures and countries and the lack of attention to public voices are likely to restrict the achievement of global goals. Therefore, the experience of MDGs suggests that complex goals with multiple targets that directly aim to eliminate DV and its causes and consequences can indeed be more effective in DV reduction than MDGs. Moreover, MDGs appear to demonstrate that additional customization of goals and the engagement in global discussions and research of the matter is in order. These recommendations can be later expanded with the results of SDGs’ experience, which implies that a rigorous study of both sets of goals is required to adjust the future initiative of this kind. Thus, the present essay demonstrates that even the meager contribution of MDGs to DV’s reduction offers invaluable insights into the future of global goal-setting for DV and, potentially, other global problems.
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