16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence 2020

Photo: Odisha, India 2018

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (November 25) marks the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. This global campaign ends on Human Rights Day (December 10), a deliberate schedule which links the issues of violence against women and human rights inextricably.

Each year, we are proud to join this global movement in galvanizing collaborative action to end gender-based violence and promote women’s and girls’ empowerment every where. This year, the 16 Days will focus on protecting women in the informal workforce while turning a special eye to ratifying International Labour Organization Convention 190 (ILO 190). ILO 190 seeks to establish “clear guidance for governments, employers, and trade unions to identify and eliminate discriminatory behaviors and address the discriminatory outcomes of unequal power relations that lie at the heart of gender-based violence.”

This sustainable goal aligns with our work to bolster the safe participation of women in income-generating activities. 

In much of the world, sexual violence is normalized and institutionalized within socially-accepted practices like child marriage and gender-biased access to education. Each year, millions of young girls are forced out of education into marriages and, subsequently, motherhood at an age much too young to consent.

It’s a cycle that perpetuates not only inequity and abuse but significant malnourishment for both mother and child and economic stagnation for whole communities. These patterns are exacerbated by social restrictions and economic pressures introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic, and our work to support women’s income-generating activities is more important than ever.

To help create the space for women’s safe participation in their local economies, we advocate for strategies that end gender discrimination, promote equality, and emphasize the importance of education and empowerment of girls at a young age — a proven method of reducing child marriage.

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.

Take action.

Use your voice to advocate for billions of women around the world who face gender-based violence every day. Share our #16Days posts across social media, invest in our work to build the leadership of women, and commit to building a free and equitable world for everyone.

What we do.

    • If gender equality is to be fully realized, both women and men need to be involved in the conversation. In 2019 in Africa, 105,382 people (66,825 women and 38,557 men) trained in our Women’s Empowerment Program, a program which empowers women to be advocates for human rights and gender-based issues within their communities.
    • We encourage girls to go beyond their comfort zones and challenge existing barriers and stereotypes. In 2018, 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.
    • Global collaboration is key to sustainable progress. We are proud members of Her Choice, a global alliance of organizations who believe girls and young women are free to decide if, when and whom to marry. 
    • Securing the right to choose one’s path as a young girl will greatly reduce rates of gender-based violence. In Bangladesh, we have created the “Safe Schools for Girls” program which advocates against early child marriages and supports girls in their fight to end this oppressive practice. Watch Rumi’s story below about her fight to stay in school and avoid early marriage.