16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence is an annual international campaign that begins on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day.

The campaign was started by activists at the inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991.. It continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

In support of this civil society initiative, the United Nations Secretary-General launched the UNiTE by 2030 campaign to end violence against women in 2008, which runs parallel to the 16 Days of Activism.

Each year, the UNiTE Campaign focuses on a specific theme. This year’s theme is “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls” and invites everyone to play their part in ending violence against women and girls, showing support and solidarity for women’s rights activists, and resisting the rollback of women’s rights. You can access the concept note here.

Say No – UNITED SINCE 2009

To support the UN system-wide campaign and encourage public participation, UN Women launched Say NO–UNITE to End Violence Against Women as a social mobilization platform in 2009.

During its first phase, more than 5 million people signed a global petition to make ending violence against women a global priority. Between 2009 and 2013, the campaign also led to more than 5 million actions in partnership with more than 900 civil society organizations around the world.

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The actions showcased the advocacy efforts of civil society, activists, governments and the UN system. These ranged from online petitions and social media campaigns to national grassroots awareness initiatives. It included outreach to schools, engaging youth and faith-based organizations and getting concrete national commitments from governments, and more.

COMMIT initiative

In 2012, before the 57the Session of the Commission on the Legal and Social Status of Women which focused on ending violence against women. UN Women launched the COMMIT initiative, calling on governments to take a stand by making new and concrete national commitments to end violence against women and girls.

By the end of 2013, the European Union and 63 countries had joined the initiative, announcing specific measures to address and prevent violence against women and girls. These range from passing or improving laws, ratifying international conventions, launching public awareness campaigns, providing safe houses or free hotline services and free legal assistance for survivors, supporting educational programs that address gender stereotypes and violence. It has also led to an increase in the number of women in law enforcement, peacekeeping forces and front-line services.

End gender-based violence in the context of COVID-19

Address the escalation of violence against women and girls in the context of the COVID-19 pandemicin 2020 the The Secretary General of the United Nations urged all governments make preventing and redressing violence against women and girls a key part of their national pandemic response plans. The appeal was answered in a statement by 146 member and observer statesexpressing strong support.

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As a follow-up, the Executive Committee of the Secretary-General adopted a “Political Engagement Strategy” for the UN system to mobilize commitments and action to end gender-based violence in the context of COVID-19.

All governments are called upon to make commitments and take political action around four key action areas: Finance, Prevent, Respond and Collect.

Today Say NO–UNITE has transformed into a network for social mobilization that continues to showcase advocacy, news and action to end violence against women and girls by people from all walks of life.

A global network to end violence against women and girls

To keep the network informed of key developments and advocacy opportunities, UN Women develops bi-monthly action circulars shared with partner organizations and women’s rights activists around the world.

To join the global JOIN network, you can sign up to receive updates, here. Be part of a global network of people committed to realizing a future free of violence against women and girls!

Here is a list of the most recent circulars:

2022 July/August. Theme: Addressing trafficking as a form of violence against women and girls

May/June 2022. Theme: Ending violence against women and girls in the context of conflict

February/March 2022. Theme: Ending violence against women and girls in the context of climate change and the annex to this action circular summarizing the agreed conclusions on CSW66.

October/November 2021. Theme: 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

August/September 2021. Theme: Collecting

June/July 2021. Theme: Reply

April/May 2021. Theme: Prevent

February/March 2021. Theme: Background

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16 days of activism coverage

Access our coverage of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence from previous years:

2021: Let’s end violence against women now!

2020: Orange the world: Finance, Respond, Prevent, Collect!

2019: Generation Equality opposes rape

2018: Orange the world: #HearMeToo

2017: leave no one behind

2016: Invest and mobilize to end violence against women

2015: Prevent violence against women

2014: orange your neighborhood

2013: End violence against women

2012: Let’s End Violence Against Women. say you commit

2011: End violence against women and girls

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