Initiated in 1991 by the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute, the ”16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ is an international campaign challenging violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. Over 3,700 organisations across 164 countries participate in ’16 Days of ‘Activism against Gender-based Violence’.
1. November 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
2. November 2: International Women Human Rights Defenders Day
3. December 1: World AIDS Day
4. December 5: International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development
5. December 6: Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, which is observed as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada
6. December 10: International Human Rights Day and the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign either chooses a unique annual theme, or continues a theme from a previous year. Themes are selected from a particular area of gender inequality, bringing attention to issues, and intending to make impactful changes. For example, the first campaign theme in 1991 was entitled ‘Violence Against Women Violates Human Rights’. Over the years, themes have included human rights, freedom from violence racism and sexism, and peace in the home.
16 Days of ‘Activism against Gender-based Violence in 2017
The 2017 theme “Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls” reflects the core principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The theme reinforces commitment to a world free from violence for all women and girls, while caring for underserved and marginalized, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters, amongst others, first.
The 2017 theme for 16 Days of ‘Activism against Gender-based Violence is “Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls”. It reflects the principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Violence against women is the most extreme form of discrimination
According to a report based on data from 2005 to 2016 for 87 countries, 19 percent of women (between the ages of 15 and 49 years of age) claimed to have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the 12 months prior to the survey.
i. In extreme cases, violence has led to death
Almost half of all women who were victims of intentional homicide across the world, were killed by an intimate partner or family member.
ii. Female genital mutilation
While female genital mutilation declined by 24 percent since around 2000. However, it is highly prevalent in approximately 30 countries with representative data.
Survey data from 2015 in these countries found that over 1 in 3 girls between 15 and 19 years of age experienced the procedure, compared to nearly 1 in 2 girls around 2000.
iii. Consensual sexual relations
Only just over 52 percent of women (between the ages of 15 and 49) married or in a relationship can choose to consent to sexual relations, and use of contraceptives and health services. This is based on available data from around 2012 for 45 countries.
According to research, achieving gender equality can help in preventing conflict. High rates of violence against women has found correlation with conflict outbreak. The struggle for women’s inclusion, leadership and protection has been inadequate. One of the major challenges holding back the protection of women, and ending gendered violence is the lack of funding. Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, which specifically target ending violence against women and girls will require stakeholder, including organisations, corporations, and citizens to donate to NGO. Funding will be channelised by NGOs like Save the Children to programs of girl child empowerment, and enabling them to have a better future.