The top 10 winners of the AMNC 12 / Youku video contest were invited by Forum:Blog to write about the issues that matter to them for the Annual Meeting of the New Champions. Today, the winner of the contest, Feng Yuan.

At first you may think that gender-based violence – especially domestic violence – has little to do with economics.

But you would be wrong. The two are inextricably linked.

More than 90% of domestic violence victims are women. And women are similarly victimised by an economic structure that reinforces inequality.

Many females – girls, women, and the elderly – work for no pay but contribute an estimated $11 trillion to the gross domestic product (GDP) of China. This hidden labour force serves privileged men but receives nothing in return.

Women do 52% of global jobs, often taking two jobs outside the family home. When they are paid, they often receive less money than men would for the same work. They also have fewer opportunities and fewer resources at their disposal.

Such employment gender discrimination also means fewer promotions, and limited access to credit, social security and property rights. This disempowerment in turn increases the chances of women being the victims of domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Violence against women has serious economic consequences – increased absenteeism, lower productivity and increased health costs.

In the US and some European countries the per capita economic cost of domestic violence runs to thousands of dollars. In the Caribbean, absenteeism caused by domestic violence reduces GDP by 2%.

Now is the time to break the vicious circle of economic and gender-based violence.

We women want to change the economy of the future. We want to see our contribution recognised and rewarded. We want to be respected and valued. There can be no place for inequality and violence in the future economy.

Equality and democratisation are essential if women are to realize their true potential and live better lives. We need more women to become policymakers, entrepreneurs and economists. The current system, run and devised by men, is not conducive to the promotion of women’s rights.

So I call on all women everywhere – sisters, daughters, mothers, grandmothers – to use your wisdom and power to participate in the economic revolution we need.

A world without the economic and physical subjugation of women is not a hopelessly utopian vision. We can make it happen, as long as we join forces and work together.

Author: Feng Yuan is a member of Against Domestic Violence Network

Photo: REUTERS/Jianan Yu (CHINA)