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‘‘Economic dependence part of gender-based violence’’

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Economic dependence is part of the violence in the multifaceted nature of gender-based violence (GBV). General Sir John Kotalawala Defence University Faculty of Management Social Sciences and Humanities Dean Dr. Lakshika Liyanage shed light on an often-overlooked aspect of GBV: economic deprivation. Dr. Liyanage elucidated how economic dependence is not just a matter of financial inequity but a critical form of violence that significantly affects women’s freedom and quality of life.

“Economic deprivation is a form of gender-based violence,” Dr. Liyanage stated emphatically. She explained how, especially in certain Asian contexts, educated women are sometimes coerced into abandoning their careers post-marriage to fulfill household duties, thereby becoming financially dependent on their spouses. “They then have no income for themselves and have to depend on their husbands for everything, which is actually economic deprivation,” she elaborated.

Dr. Liyanage was speaking recently to The Tenth Lecture of the Short Course on “Cultural Linkages towards an Asian Ideology” 2023/2024 organized by the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University KDU. Dr. Liyanage highlighted that economic deprivation extends beyond mere financial dependency. It encompasses a lack of access to resources, limited opportunities for economic advancement, and exclusion from financial decision-making. This form of violence strips women of the autonomy to make choices about their lives, perpetuating a cycle of dependence and vulnerability.

The implications of economic deprivation are vast, affecting not only individual women but also the broader society. Dr. Liyanage pointed out that when women are economically empowered, they invest back into their families and communities, contributing to overall development and prosperity. Conversely, restricting women’s economic participation hinders societal progress and exacerbates poverty.

The news is not all grim, however. Dr. Liyanage acknowledged the growing recognition of this issue and the efforts to combat it. She mentioned various scholarships and research grants available for further study on gender issues, reflecting an increasing commitment to understanding and addressing economic factors in GBV. “There are plenty of opportunities to get scholarships to do further research and of course to start new projects for those who are interested,” she encouraged the audience. Despite these positive developments, Dr. Liyanage stressed the need for more comprehensive and sustained efforts. She called for systemic changes, including legal reforms, educational initiatives, and community engagement, to ensure women have equal access to economic resources and opportunities.

“Economic independence is not just about money. It’s about freedom, dignity, and equality,” Dr. Liyanage concluded, urging society to recognize and act against economic deprivation as a severe form of gender-based violence. As her speech ended, it was clear that while the journey towards economic empowerment and gender equality is long and complex, understanding and addressing economic deprivation is a crucial step in the right direction. (TP)

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