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SIGBI President’s December 2022 Message

Dear Members,

It’s the time of year again when Soroptimists everywhere are putting into action their ‘Orange the World’ plans, raising awareness of UN Eliminate Violence Against Women Day on 25 November and the 16 Days of Activism leading up to Human Rights Day on 10 December – and not forgetting White Ribbon Day, also held on 25 November each year.

The White Ribbon Campaign was formed to encourage men to take a pledge that they will never use, excuse, or remain silent about men’s violence against women.

Gender-based violence against women and girls is one of the worst manifestations of discrimination against women and remains the most widespread and pervasive human rights violation worldwide, affecting more than an estimated 1 in 3 women, a figure that has remained largely unchanged over the last decade.

According to the latest estimates, more than 5 women or girls are killed every hour by someone in their own family.

Global emergencies, crises, and conflict have further intensified violence against women. Natural disasters, many of which are made more likely by climate change, aggravate all types of gender-based violence against women and girls.

Rapidly expanding online and technology facilitated violence is leading to new patterns of violence against women and girls.

At the same time, there has been a backlash against women’s rights movements and increased attacks against women human rights defenders.

In this context, ending gender-based violence might seem unimaginable, but it is not – this year, the UN Secretary General, through his UNiTE campaign, is calling upon governments and partners to act now to end violence against women and show their solidarity to women’s rights movements and activists through:

  • Increased long-term funding and support for women’s rights organisations working on effective solutions to prevent and respond to violence against women.
  • Promote the leadership and participation of women and girls in political, policy making and decision-making spaces from global to local levels, including in development humanitarian and peace processes.
  • Strengthen mechanisms to prevent and eliminate violence, harassment, threats, intimidation, and discrimination against human rights defenders and women rights advocates and activists.

Antonio Guterres states –‘Everyone can make a difference – Be an Activist – Unite to end Violence Against Women’ – a passion I know is shared by every Soroptimist, throughout the world.

I wish you all joy in whatever way you choose to celebrate the coming festive season, and every good wish for a safe and peaceful 2023.

In friendship,

Cathy Cottridge
SIGBI President