16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

November 25, 2017

Every year, The Hunger Project marks the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Starting November 25, (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and ending December 10 (Human Rights Day) the 16-day-long global campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. Every year, The Hunger Project joins this global movement to shine a spotlight on the issue of gender-based violence, while promoting the empowerment of women and girls everywhere.

The 2017 campaign places a greater emphasis than in years prior on women’s rights as human rights. Launching on November 25, the 16 Days of Activism is a time to incite action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

This year’s theme is “Together We Can End Gender-Based Violence in Education.” The theme builds on the momentum of last year’s theme, by recognizing that discrimination and gender inequality are still present even when girls and women are are able to pursue an education. Gender-based violence can and does happen everywhere—in public spaces, schools, homes. Around the world, 246 million children experience gender‐based violence at or on their way to school every year. Earlier this year, the new movement #MeToo took center-stage online, as women came forward to have open and honest conversations about their experiences of surviving sexual violence. The movement encouraged survivors to challenge the status quo around sexual harassment, drawing testimonies from millions of women on social media.

Girls are particularly vulnerable and often miss out on a full education just because of their gender. Yet, when girls and women have the opportunity to pursue an education, they can build a prosperous future for themselves and their communities. Education parity is estimated to “add as much as $28 trillion or 26 percent to annual GDP in 2025.”

The Hunger Project is a strong advocate of strategies that end gender discrimination, promote equality and place an emphasis on the education and empowerment of girls. Through Her Choice –  a global coalition of organizations working to end child marriage around the world – The Hunger Project is activating local leadership to create an environment in which child marriage is not tolerated, and we do this through programs, research, learning and advocacy. Animators across our program countries run educational campaigns to promote childhood primary school enrollment, especially for girl children.

Facts and figures* 

– 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives.

– Some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.

– Women who have been physically or sexually abused by their partners are more than twice as likely to have an abortion, almost twice as likely to experience depression, and in some regions, 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV, as compared to women who have not experienced partner violence.

– 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th Child marriage often results in early pregnancy and social isolation, interrupts schooling, limits the girl’s opportunities and increases her risk of experiencing domestic violence.

– Around 120 million girls worldwide (slightly more than 1 in 10) have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. By far the most common perpetrators of sexual violence against girls are current or former husbands, partners or boyfriends.

– At least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in the 30 countries with representative data on prevalence. In most of these countries, the majority of girls were cut before age 5.

– Adult women account for 51 per cent of all human trafficking victims detected globally.

– Women and girls together account for 71 per cent, with girls representing nearly three out of every four child trafficking victims. Nearly three out of every four trafficked women and girls are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

– An estimated 246 million girls and boys experience school-related violence every year and one in four girls say that they never feel comfortable using school latrines, according to a survey on youth conducted across four regions.

– Eighty-two per cent of women parliamentarians who participated in a study conducted by the Inter-parliamentary Union in 39 countries across 5 regions reported having experienced some form of psychological violence while serving their terms.

– Evidence suggests that certain characteristics of women, such as sexual orientation, disability status or ethnicity, and some contextual factors, such as humanitarian crises, including conflict and post-conflict situations, may increase women’s vulnerability to violence.

*(Source: UN Women)

What We Do

– At its core, putting an end to gender-based violence means working for a world in which women and men have equal rights and where women are empowered to be the leaders of their own change. In 2016, The Hunger Project trained 80,418 women across Africa through our Vision, Commitment and Action Workshops. VCA Workshops combine leadership training with a public commitment to realize that vision and the identification of a clear set of actions necessary to achieve the vision.

– In 2016 in Africa, we trained 107,283 people (68,322 women and 38,961 men) through our Women’s Empowerment Program, which empowers women to be advocates for human rights and gender-based issues within their communities. At The Hunger Project we believe that if gender equality is to be fully realized, both women and men need to be involved in the conversation.

Empower girls and raise awareness of the harmful effects of child marriage: At The Hunger Project, we encourage girls to go beyond their comfort zones and challenge existing barriers and stereotypes. Earlier this year, THP-India led a group of visionary young girls on a life-changing journey from India’s state of Bihar to the state of Rajasthan. On their journey, the group promoted the empowerment of women and girls and shared stories and experiences about the negative effects of child marriage, which leaves girls vulnerable to many forms of violence.

Global programs to end child marriage: Last year we launched Her Choice, a global alliance of organizations who believe girls and young women are free to decide if, when and whom to marry. The coalition includes The Hunger Project and Netherlands-based organizations Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland, International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) and the University of Amsterdam. Her Choice works to end child marriage local leadership to create an environment in which child marriage is not tolerated, and we do this through programs, research, learning and advocacy.

Promote girls’ safety in schools: In Bangladesh, we have also implemented the “Safe Schools for Girls” program. The program, which runs in partnership with USAID-funded organization International Television Service, seeks to increase girls’ attendance in school, reduce dropouts, improve the quality of education available to girls and promote additional opportunities for girls in and out of school.

From November 25 through December 10, lend your voice to the global movement! Let the world known that you are aware of victims of abuse and that you stand with them. Join the conversation online with #16days and #orangetheworld