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November 22, 2023

Crucial steps toward eliminating violence against women

Cognizant supports the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The statistics are sadly sobering.

In the US, one in three women have experienced some form of physical violence from an intimate partner.

Globally, the picture is equally stark. The United Nations reports that an estimated 736 million women—almost one in three—have been subjected to physical or sexual violence at least once in their life. That’s the reason for the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, and that’s why I’m writing today—because we can collectively make a difference for our employees and for the communities in which we live.

One place to start is simply by raising awareness, by talking about a topic that is uncomfortable. Global employers like Cognizant, with their large communities of employees, have a unique opportunity to break the silence that surrounds this topic and let women know that help is available. And this responsibility goes beyond the walls of the company to reach the communities where our associates and their families live and work.

Some important points:

  1. Mental health resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are an essential way for businesses to help. Offered by 97% of large companies and 75% of smaller businesses, EAPs can make a difference in employees’ lives. Business leaders should make sure they communicate regularly with employees about EAPs and how to use them to get help.

  2. Domestic violence is a workplace issue. Sometimes, the workplace is the safest space victims of domestic violence have—and given the rise of remote or hybrid work, it’s a relatively safe space that many have lost contact with.

  3. Be an ally. Domestic violence—and, more broadly, violence against women—is an issue that goes beyond the private sphere. Each of us has a duty to educate ourselves on what it means to be an ally and how to offer support.

  4. Know the hand signal for domestic violence. As remote work and videoconferencing continues, advocacy organizations have developed a single-hand gesture to alert co-workers, family and friends that an individual is at risk. We should all learn to recognize the #SignalForHelp and spread awareness.

  5. Learn to recognize the signs that someone is being abused and know how to help them. People close to abusive situations (whether relatives, colleagues or friends) are sometimes hesitant to act. They may not know what to do, or they may view the relationship as a private space. But starting with a simple question can be powerful. Are you okay? Or do you need help? Reassuring someone that you’re there for them can go a long way.

If appropriate, share resources, including the applicable national domestic violence hotline.

Nobody should face violence at home, on the job or anywhere. Helping to raise awareness of these issues is one step toward making the world a safer place for all.

To learn more, visit the Diversity and Inclusion section of our website or contact us.

Kathy Diaz

Chief People Officer, Cognizant

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Kathy leads all aspects of people strategy at Cognizant, guiding how the company attracts, develops, engages and rewards its diverse global workforce. She is focused on ensuring Cognizant remains an employer of choice in the industry.

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