The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence is an international campaign to highlight the prevalence of violence against women globally. From November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10, Human Rights Day, The 16 Days Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.
“From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All!” is the theme for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence and recognizes the dire situation of millions of girls and boys, young women and men, whose universal human right to education is daily impacted or cut short due to violence, lack of resources and discrimination. It is our duty to demand education for girls and boys today and every day.
Often, girls are not sent to schools simply because they are girls. Yet, girls and women who are educated are equipped with the knowledge to fight repressive social limitations such as child marriage. Not only can these women and girls stand up for their social rights, but they can also increase a country’s economic growth and productivity. For example, countries could prevent the loss of more than $1 billion annually by educating girls as equally as boys.
Violence against women and girls happen everywhere. There are no borders, races or cultures that are not touched by violence against women. Simply because of their gender, millions of women and girls are exposed to intentional violence.
Indeed, this year in a report about the progress of women released by UN Women shows that progress for women in the past 20 years has been unacceptably slow, with areas of stagnation and regression. UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said there has been a “collective failure of leadership on the progress of women,” after the report was released.
The Hunger Project is a strong advocate of approaches that end gender discrimination. In our epicenters across Africa, for example, we provide access to microfinance that allows female farmers to generate higher incomes and become more involved in important decision making. Our Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) empowers women to become strong leaders in their households and communities. Campaigns such as SWEEP (Strengthening Women’s Leadership in the Electoral Process) identify and help provide women the platform to participate in the political process throughout India. And, in Bangladesh, The Hunger Project works to inform governments, community members and young women to end child marriage in their communities.
From November 25 through December 10, lend your voice to the outcry. Make it known that you are aware of victims of abuse and that you stand with them – we all do. Unless women, girls, men, and boys fully enjoy their human rights and are free from violence, advancement towards progress will fall short.
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