30 years of commemorating the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

Galvanizing support to end violence against women and girls around the world

By Chrissy Hart, Senior Advisor, Together for Girls

This year is the 30th anniversary of the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.” Established in 1991, the 16 Days (November 25-December 10) raise awareness and galvanize global support to end violence against women and girls around the world.

 

Read on for six ways to join the global conversation and get involved with this year’s #16Days movement, joining Together for Girls and our partners in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV).

16 days blog image - Six Ways to Commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

1. Listen to survivors

If a survivor of sexual violence comes to you, what should you do? Our data shows that for many survivors, a peer is the first person they disclose their experience to. 

 

Read our list of what to do—and not to do—so you’re equipped to respond in the best way possible.

 

We can all work to create environments where survivors feel empowered to come forward, knowing they will be believed, protected and not blamed. Watch our virtual Survivors’ Town Hall with adult survivors of childhood sexual violence to hear why it is essential that survivors’ voices and experiences are heard, acknowledged and honored in all decision-making processes. 

2. Learn about the impact of COVID-19 on girls and young women

As a result of the pandemic, many children, adolescents and youth have lost parents or primary caregivers and are living in extreme poverty and facing hunger. For girls and young women, there is an increased risk of never returning to school, child marriage, intimate partner violence and higher rates of unintended pregnancy.

 

We know that all children, adolescents and youth have faced increased vulnerability to violence and many lack access to trusted adults, critical health and social services, and peer support. For more information as well as recommendations and resources for responding to the needs of adolescent girls and young women during COVID-19 and beyond, visit our partners and allied organizations including the Malala Fund and Girls Not Brides.

Malala Fund Report Cover - Six Ways to Commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

3. Advocate for adolescent girls

Adolescent girls and young women have specific needs, vulnerabilities and experiences of violence. Although there have been improvements over the past 30 years, there is still a critical lack of investment in adolescent girls and young women.

 

As the world begins to understand the longer-term impacts of COVID-19, there is an opportunity to ensure that “building back better” prioritizes securing the futures of girls and young women. Help advocate for their rights and future opportunities by following organizations that support girls and young women, including the UN Girls’ Education Initiative, UNESCO, Plan International, Population Council and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls.

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4. Lend your voice to a global call to action to end femicide

The Rutgers University Center for Women’s Global Leadership, which originally created the 16 Days observance, is celebrating the campaign’s 30th anniversary by focusing on the issue of ending femicide, the most extreme form of violence against women and girls.

 

To get involved, check out their Femicide Advocacy Guide, which recommends actions that can be taken to demand accountability and action during 16 Days and all year round. It is accompanied by a social media toolkit that you can use to raise awareness about femicide in your own community. In addition to the anniversary theme, the campaign will continue to call for the ratification of ILO Convention 190 (C190), which sets a clear framework to end violence and harassment at work.

Rutgers End Femicide guide - Six Ways to Commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

 

Use the social media toolkit and join the global call to action!

5. Orange the World

The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence Against Women campaign (UNiTE campaign), is a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the world.

 

The 2021 global theme is “Orange the world: End violence against women now!” This year the campaign encourages organizations and individuals to engage Generation Equality Forum commitment makers in your country or region to collaborate in the implementation of bold new commitments and to inspire further action

UN Women orange the world 16 days - Six Ways to Commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

 

See actions taken around the world (and help orange your corner of the globe) by joining in UNWomen’s #OrangeTheWorld campaign on social media.

6. Support Girls' DREAMS

The DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe) partnership aims to reduce new HIV infections and violence among adolescent girls and young women ages 10-24 in 15 sub-Saharan countries.

 

Launched in 2014 by Together for Girls’ partner, the President’s Emergency Fund for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), DREAMS provides a comprehensive package of evidence-based interventions focused on prevention, diagnosis, care and treatment. Explore their stories by clicking through our Kenya “Girls who Dream” photo essays.

By simultaneously improving access to care for young women and increasing their agency, the DREAMS partnership works to ensure they have an AIDS-free, safe future. In Kenya, DREAMS has not only empowered adolescent girls and young women but also profoundly impacted their families and communities.

Join the fight against GBV!

In order to effectively prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, we must first understand it. Through the Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys (VACS), led by national governments with technical assistance and support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other partners as part of the Together for Girls partnership, we now have violence data on nearly 11% of the world’s children, adolescents and youth. By better understanding the problem and working together to spark action, we can create a safer world.

 

To learn more about GBV and to access data and resources that you can use to help share information about the far-reaching impacts of GBV, visit the Together for Girls resource bank

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