The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day. It was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. It is an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the Global 16 Days Campaign. Over 6000 organizations in approximately 187 countries have participated in the Campaign since 1991, reaching 300 million people. It continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership.
This civil society initiative, under the leadership of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign (UNiTE Campaign), launched in 2008, is a multi-year effort. It is aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the world, for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy and create opportunities for discussion about challenges and solutions. As in previous years, the color orange will be used to represent a brighter future, free from violence against women and girls.
This year’s global campaign theme “Orange the World: END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN NOW!” will mobilize all UNITE networks, civil society and women’s rights organizations, the UN system, the Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence, government partners, schools, universities, private sector, sports clubs and associations and individuals to:
- Advocate for inclusive, comprehensive and long-term strategies, programs and resources to prevent and eliminate VAWG by prioritizing the most marginalized women and girls.
- Amplify the success stories demonstrating that VAWG is preventable by showcasing effective strategies and interventions to inspire all actors to embrace what works.
- Promote the leadership of women and girls and their meaningful participation in policy making and decision making from global to local levels.
- Engage Generation Equality Forum members to implement bold new commitments and inspire further action to deliver progress on the Gender-Based Violence Action Coalition Blueprint.
According to the latest estimates, nearly 1 in 3 women, around the world aged 15 years and older have been subjected to physical or sexual violence, at least once in their lifetime, indicating that levels of VAWG have remained largely unchanged over the last decade. These numbers do not reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and would be even higher if they included the full continuum of violence that affect women and girls.
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that the world was unprepared to respond to the rapid escalation of all forms of VAWG. If we want to ensure that no woman or girl is left behind, we need comprehensive and inclusive approaches that can be adapted to rapidly changing contexts.