16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign which takes place each year, and runs from 25 November, (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), to 10 December (Human Rights Day), also encompassing other important key dates. This year’s theme is ‘Orange the World: End Violence against Women and Girls’. The ‘16 Days Campaign’ is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of violence against women and girls. It originated from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991.

 

Last year, as part of the initiative ‘Orange Your Neighbourhood: End Violence against Women and Girls’, ‘orange’ activities were organized in more than 70 countries around the world and more than 100 million people were reached through social media, sparking a global conversation, new commitments and initiatives to end violence against women and girls. To focus global attention on the issue, many iconic buildings and landmarks around the world were lit orange, including the Empire State Building, the United Nations Headquarters Building and the NASDAQ screens at Times Square in New York City, the administration building of the Panama Canal, and the Sphinx and Pyramids at Giza in Egypt.

 

Gender dynamics play a critical role in many of Somalia’s development issues. Somali authorities have identified the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of women as a priority for peace and development. The Somali Compact lays out gender as one of the key cross cutting issues that will lead to sustainable development. The establishment of State mechanisms to coordinate different actors, including civil society, is necessary to ensure the effective implementation of laws and policies addressing violence against women and girls. Gender perspectives must be integrated into all legislation, public policies, programs and projects.

 

To this end, UNDP supports the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment in all development results across all projects. This means providing guidance to Somali institutions to mainstream gender into their policies and programmes. UNDP Somalia’s Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Project focuses on transforming social norms to be more gender responsive, fostering positive legal and policy frameworks for promotion of gender equality and protection of women’s rights; and building the capacities of women and women’s representative organizations/institutions to contribute to recovery, development and stability.

 

The economic empowerment of women is an essential element in addressing the structural and underlying causes of violence against women and girls. Addressing women’s economic inequality is of particular importance in reducing violence against women and girls in the long- term. UNDP supports policies, raised awareness of women’s rights at the local communities and supported female students and promoted livelihoods for women.

 

UNDP provides technical and financial support to national gender machineries in all three regions to develop gender policies and strategic plans; and coordinate better on gender issues across all government sectors. This work is funded with support from Norway and Denmark. Through ministries or directorates of education, scholarships were provided to enhance women’s education at the tertiary level. Working with local partners UNDP raised awareness of women’s rights in local communities, supported advocacy for women’s political participation and promoted livelihoods for women.