IDEA: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

From November 25 to December 10, 2017, a global campaign entitled
“16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence”
will take place!

The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutger’s University in 1991. An annual event lead by UNiTE, the 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women!

The campaign stretches across 16 days, beginning and ending on two very significant days. November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and December 10 is International Human Rights Day. These two dates were chosen to reflect the connection between violence against women and human rights, noting that such violence is a violation of human rights.

This year’s campaign, Leave No One Behind: End Violence Against Women and Girls, will take place against the backdrop of an “unprecedented global outcry”. In 2017 we have seen campaigns like #MeToo and others break the silence around sexual harassment and gender-based violence. This is an excellent first step in transforming the culture and ideologies that surround gender-based violence, but we can’t stop here!

What is Gender-Based Violence?

Gender-based violence (GBV) referes to “any act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and is based on gender norms and unequal power relationships. It encompasses threats of violence and coercion. It can be physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual in nature, and can take the form of a denial of resources or access to services. It inflicts harm on women, girls, men and boys” (UNHCR).

The 16 Days Campaign directly addresses the violence against women and girls that occurs daily, all around the world. Impact of GBV can range from immediate to long-term physical, sexual, and mental consequences, affecting women and girl’s well-being and ability to fully participate in society (UNWomen).

GBV involves the “use and abuse of power and control over another person and is perpetrated against someone based on their gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender” (Status of Women Canada).

One in three women and girls experience violence in their lifetime and it can happen anywhere –  in any country and in any society. In school, at home, on the street, at work, and on the internet, acts of gender-based violence are all too common and in some ways, the issue has become normalized.


Orange the World

Big or small, actions around this issue have an impact! UNiTE and the 16 Days Campaign calls on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing the global pandemic of violence against women and girls.

As one of the official colours of the campaign, orange symbolizes a brighter future and a world free from violence against women and girls.


Looking Forward

Since this is a 16-day campaign, make sure to follow the Take Action blog as we share information, ideas, tools, resources that can be used in your schools and communities, and examples of how people are making a difference around the world.

Join the conversation through the hashtags #orangetheworld and #16days

Don’t miss our second post about ways to TAKE ACTION and GET INVOLVED with specific examples and even more links and resources!




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