With the launch of the 19th annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence on November 25th, information is pouring in from organizations and activists around the world. The Center for Women’s Global Leadership, which coordinates the international campaign each year, has already heard from hundreds of organizations in more than 60 countries! Campaign activities range from marches and rallies to music concerts, information sessions on new legal frameworks for addressing violence against women, blogging marathons, radio broadcasts on community radio stations, art exhibitions, self-care workshops, and much more. We’re thrilled to see all of the events that are being organized across Ireland by Women’s Aid and its partners.
As the coordinator of the campaign at CWGL, it has been incredibly exciting to see how this year’s theme “Commit ▪ Act ▪ Demand” is resonating with so many people in diverse parts of the world. CWGL produces a Take Action Kit based on the theme each year, but participants are encouraged to develop their campaign around the issues that are most relevant in their local context. To read more about what activists are planning in their communities, visit the full International Calendar of Activities or become a fan of the 16 Days Campaign Facebook page.
The idea for the 16 Days Campaign originated at the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute (WGLI) organized in 1991 by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), where twenty-three women from every region of the world met to discuss women’s leadership and the issue of violence against women as a fundamental violation of human rights. Happily, one of those participants was Monica O’Connor, who was working with Women’s Aid Dublin, so the 16 Days Campaign’s roots in Ireland go all the way back to its birth! While it was unlikely that the first WGLI graduates could have foreseen the incredible success of the campaign as a global mobilizing tool, their dedication to working on this issue exemplifies how every action, no matter how big or small, can make a difference. Now since the first campaign, over 2,800 organizations in 156 countries have participated, and the movement continues to grow.
I’m inspired each day as I read more about what women’s organizations around the world are doing to bring an end to violence against women. The 16 Days Campaign is powerful because it gives us opportunities to work in solidarity with one another, and it provides a period of heightened international attention to gain support for our local efforts. So let’s make sure that the whole world hears our voices this year from November 25 – December 10! Gender-based violence must stop, and we all have a role to play. Together, we must Commit, Act, and Demand an end to violence against women!
Keely Swan – 16 Days Campaign Coordinator
Center for Women’s Global Leadership