Mohamed Ali Alhakim, Executive Secretary of ESCWA (center) with Jean Ogasapian to the right and Peter Weiderud, Director of the Swedish Institute Alexandria on the left. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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In an initiative to further women's rights in the Arab world, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and partner institutions called on Arab nations to calculate the economic cost of violence against women. "We're looking at the economic costs [of violence] because it has been shown when money is involved, everyone takes more interest," Wassim Shahin, professor of economics at the Lebanese American University – one of the partner organizations in the new project – said in a speech at Wednesday evening's launch at the Sursock Museum in Beirut's Ashrafieh. He reiterated that achieving women's rights in the Arab World remained an ongoing battle, as very few Arab states have laws specifically tackling violence against women.By calculating the negative effect of violence against women on Arab economies as a whole, Shahin said, a greater number of actors will involve themselves to tackle the issue. The result was an economic model that estimates the cost of violence against women.In creating such a model, partner institutions have researched the medical, criminal justice, legal and social costs incurred as a result of this violence within marriages.
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