Soroptimists Railing Against Abuse
(A Lot Can Happen in 16 Days!!!)
Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women & 16 Days
Belinda Mason, Silent Tears
Why This International Day?
Violence against women is a human rights violation.
Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women.
Violence against women impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security.
Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. Prevention is possible and essential.
Violence against women continues to be a global pandemic.
One of the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide is the substantial funding shortfall. As a result, resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls are severely lacking. Frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a specific target on ending violence against women and girls, offer huge promise, but must be adequately funded in order to bring real and significant changes in the lives of women and girls.
16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence
From 25 November through 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence aim to raise public awareness and mobilizing people everywhere to bring about change. This year, the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign invites you to “Orange the world,” using the colour designated by the UNiTE campaign to symbolize a brighter future without violence.
Each year 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence introduces a new theme, or continues with a previous one
Soroptimists have been drawn to an assessment, conducted worldwide, on what 16 Days of Activism means. The assessment, ‘A Life of its Own’, was carried out by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL).
From 25th November to 10th December each year, Soroptimists mark the days with enthusiasm and focus. Since its inception 25 years ago the meaning of 16 Days has undergone change.
The document offers some soul-searching to organisations that work with gender issues, stating it is time to ‘transition from awareness to eradication’ as the next important step to eliminate gender-based violence.
Let’s go back a bit.
Led by Charlotte Bunch, 24 women at the Rutger University (USA) had a dream to explore gender discrimination in all its dimensions. The CWGL was formed and, in 1991, it launched its 16 Days campaign from 25th November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – until 10th December, Human Rights Day – the campaign affirmed the link between women’s rights and human rights.
By 1995, 16 Days had gained a cross-cultural footing and had a life of its own, celebrated marked, focussed on in various ways, but kept to the main objectives. UN agencies gave fillip to the movement globally, and
UNIFEM developed its own way to mark the ten days.
The first ten years of the millennium communication and information technology saw exponential growth of NGO websites, media coverage and the outreach of the 16 Days concept. The multi-sector collaboration with UN agencies gave a stimulus. This contribution of civil society was acknowledged by the UN Secretary-General in his landmark “In-depth Study on all Forms of Violence Against Women” (2006). After 2009 The CWGL gave a new direction to their work by including Militarism & Gender-Based Violence which no doubt has spiralled due to global conflicts and war-torn zones, and population displacement due to conflict.
CWGL quantifies the impact of 16 Days and also of its global leadership training centres. This weighty report looks at the comprehensive way forward that CWGL has outlined. It recommends a human rights framework, benchmarks for the Sustainable Development Goal 5 and the implementation of UN Resolution 1325, innovations, the involvement of men, and advocacy opportunities such a campaign allows.
In the report, CWGL acknowledges: “Soroptimist International contributed to the 2015 Campaign through daily online pieces on GBV affecting women in prison, girls (issues of early and forced marriage, and access to education), older women, women in conflict, internally displaced women and indigenous women.”