Five Fantastic Ways You Can Support the 16 Days of Activism Campaign
Written by Flora Miskin
A staggering 1 in 3 women globally will be victim to physical or sexual based violence in their lifetime. Violence against women cuts across social class, country and ethnicity. It is present in all societies, yet it is also preventable. In the UK, up to three million women and girls experience rape, domestic violence, stalking and other violence each year.
Over the past year, there’s been a sharp increase in efforts to amplify the experiences and voices of women who have experienced sexual harassment. Online global movements such as ‘#MeToo’, “#BalanceTonPorc” and “#NiUnaMenos”, highlighted the depth and breadth of gender inequality across the globe. Building on the momentum of these online movements, the theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender- Based Violence is Orange the World: #HearMeToo. This is an annual global UN campaign, which runs from 25th November – 10th December. It is held under banner of the UNiTE to End Violence against Women initiative.
As these initiatives demonstrate, stimulating discussions around gender inequality is a powerful way to address sexual harassment and violence against women. If all you do is tweet in support of #HearMeToo, this is a step towards opening the debate.
You can join social media conversations by using these hashtags: #OrangeUrWorld, #OrangeTheWorld, #HearMeToo, #EndVAW.
If you would like to get more involved, here are five ways you can support the 16 Days of Activism campaign:
1) Wear orange for the day
Women’s rights activists have observed 25 November as a day against gender-based violence since 1981. Ten years later, activists at the Women’s Global Leadership Institute used it as the first day in their 16 Days of Activism campaign. This campaign was designed to advocate for ending violence against women. Orange was chosen as a colour because of its vibrancy and association with hope, strength and perseverance. What’s more, it symbolises a brighter future free from violence against women and girls.
Silence, impunity and social stigma help explain why gender-based violence remains unresolved at a global level. Wearing orange to your school/ work or college can help raise awareness around this worldwide issue. This is an effective way to start a discussion with your peers about the UN campaign and why you are supporting it.
Furthermore there are plenty of online resources with data and facts on this important topic. For instance, UN Women’s infographics show key facts on violence against women and how to identify an abusive relationship.
2) Attend a march
Laws to protect women against gender- based violence are the first step to protect women against sexual harassment and violence, yet they remain weak in many countries. Attend a march to show your support for the global movement. Above all it also helps send a clear message to the UK government that they need to tackle the root causes of gender inequality and place pressure on international governments to do the same.
3) Start a fundraiser
Limited funding goes towards feminist movements and women’s rights organisations, despite the clear evidence of their fundamental role in creating and sustaining transformative change for women and girls. There are some great charities that do excellent work to prevent violence against women and girls in the UK and globally. For instance, we admire Amnesty International, ActionAid and Oxfam.
4) Host an event
Hosting an event is another good way to support the campaign. The UN suggests holding ‘listening events’ with survivor advocates, women’s movements, and women’s human rights defenders. Putting on an event is an effective way to unite people from a range of disciplines to engage in debate around the topic. Alternatively, there are some great events and exhibitions out there to expand your knowledge.
5) Run an online social media event
This is perhaps one of the most convenient and cost – effective ways of supporting 16 Days of Activism. For example, you could create a social media count-down during the 16 days. For extra impact, it could finish on 10th December – Human Rights Day. It could also include facts, links to resources and key events during the campaign. What’s more, make sure you find influential figures supporting the campaign and connect with them online. Don’t forget to include the above campaign hashtags in your posts!
On 11th December, LIDC will hold a Development Debate, which explores whether #MeToo has taken off in international development. Lucy Lamble, Executive Editor of the Guardian’s Global Development Desk, will chair it. Register to attend here.