By Gloria Blackwell
“Violence against women is not acceptable. It is not inevitable. It can be prevented.” — Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, U.N. Women
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign begins November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on December 10, Human Rights Day, highlighting the indelible fact that violence against girls and women is a human rights violation. This year’s campaign theme, From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All, highlights the “relationship between militarism and the right to education in situations of violent conflict, in relative peace, and [a] variety of education settings.”
Since 1991, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers University has led the campaign, involving more than 5,478 individuals, organizations, and policy makers from more than 180 countries around the world. Twenty years after the U.N. Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, progress has been made, but problems still hinder women and girls’ advancement and full participation in society. Ending violence against girls and women will transform the world. That’s the philosophy behind the 16 Days campaign, which has been a catalyst toward ending gender-based violence for nearly a quarter-century.
The U.N. 16 Days campaign invites participants to “orange the world” to raise awareness around gender-based violence.
Parallel to the 16 Days campaign, the United Nations’ UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, led by U.N. Women, encourages “orange events” like concerts, flash mobs, and marathons featuring the color to take place around the world. These events will “symbolize a brighter future without violence” and launch the first-ever U.N. Framework on Preventing Violence against Women.
Both campaigns are about action and awareness, and each provides a tool kit for ideas and inspiration:
But we’ve done some of the work for you. Here is a day-by-day guide to raising awareness about gender-based violence during and after the campaign!
November 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Share the Violence against Women infographic to increase awareness of gender-based violence (GBV) as a global pandemic.
November 26: Swap your Facebook profile picture.To kick off the campaign, all Facebook users can change their profile pictures to the 16 Days campaign logo for the duration of the campaign. Help spread the word and bring awareness to GBV and the right to safe, accessible education by changing your profile picture and inviting your Facebook friends to change theirs! Download the campaign logo and upload it as your profile picture.
November 27: Download and share the AAUW Ending Campus Sexual Assault Tool Kit. Use these resources to raise awareness about campus sexual assault so that everyone can help make campuses safe for all students.
November 28: Check out the international 16 Days campaign calendar. Get inspired by what’s happening in your local area and globally. Visit often since activities and events are updated daily!
November 29: Follow @16DaysCampaign on Twitter and join the conversation! Keep reading and tweeting the AAUW blog for information on how violence affects education for women and girls, and spread the word on our International Fellowships for women around the globe.
November 30: Share the United Nations’ Orange the World poster via Twitter and Facebook. Invite your friends to take action to end violence against women.
December 1: Write and share your own blog! Rutgers’ Center for Women’s Global Leadership will post the series 16 Blogs for 16 Days highlighting the work of activists from around the world throughout the campaign. Write about issues concerning unequal access to a safe education and GBV, and what you or your organization is doing to eliminate them. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and they will share and feature your post during the campaign.
December 2: Take two minutes to tell your members of Congress to end sexual violence on campus! Your representative on Capitol Hill needs to hear from you about how important this issue is — use AAUW’s online Two-Minute Activist tool to urge them to co-sponsor the Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) on Campus Sexual Violence Act.
December 3: Take action on Flickr. The Center for Women’s Global Leadership invites supporters of the 16 Days Campaign to take Flickr by storm! Show how you or your organization are working to eliminate GBV by uploading pictures of your participation in 16 Days activities or campaign events to the official Flickr account. Check out photos from previous years on Flickr.
December 4: Reach out to your government leaders for help with lighting and “orange-ing” iconic buildings in your community, town, or city. Organize orange marathons, flash mobs, dance parties, or bicycle rides.
December 5: Share via social media videos from the U.N. video channel “Say No to Violence,” which provides powerful tools for global information and advocacy.
December 6: Quiz yourself. How much do you know about violence against women worldwide? For the #16Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, test your knowledge in this U.N. Women quiz! Share your results via Twitter and Facebook with #orangetheworld.
December 7: Join the #16Days campaign #GBVTeachin on Twitter using handle @womengirlslead! Contribute to the conversation on how women’s leadership makes home and the world safer for all. Retweet, ask questions, or share your thoughts using the Twitter handle @womengirlslead and the hashtags #16Days and #GBVTeachin!
December 8: Read about the United Nations’ 15-year plan for global issues like empowering women and girls. The United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals include specific targets to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, which includes trafficking. Read more on the AAUW blog and share what you learn.
December 9: Tell Congress to do more to protect survivors of gender-based violence. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) only helps survivors in the United States — that’s why Congress needs to pass the International Violence Against Women Act, known as I-VAWA.
December 10: Human Rights Day – Join the #16Days campaign #GBVTeachin on Twitter using handle @WorldPulse. Same Twitter campaign, different topic: how women change makers from around the world are working to end gender-based violence. Retweet, ask questions, or share your thoughts using their Twitter handle @WorldPulse and the hashtags #16Days and #GBVTeachin!
It will take the activism of women and men to end gender-based violence. Participating in the 16 Days campaign is a critical opportunity to connect with other advocates and increase awareness about gender-based violence.
Raise your voice for all the women of the world and speak out against gender-based violence so that From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All becomes a reality.
*This blog is posted from http://www.aauw.org/2015/11/24/16-days-countdown/ as part of the 16 Days Blog Parade. CWGL is encouraging activists, NGOs, and the greater online community to write about issues concerning unequal access to a safe education and GBV as well as other intersection of gender-based violence.
** The content here may not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership or the 16 Days Campaign **