Every year, activists, advocates, and organizations working to combat gender-based violence (GBV) channel their efforts for 16 days throughout November and December, to rally the whole world behind the movement.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign runs from Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day — the dates chosen to highlight that women’s rights are human rights, and they must be promoted and protected.
The campaign aims to get the whole world involved in the conversation, generating awareness, sharing important information, and highlighting ways we can all help tackle the global epidemic of sexual and gender-based violence.
It’s not new news that women and girls face violence, harassment, and discrimintion on a daily basis. One in three of us will face violence within our lifetime, and many more of us won’t report it. The UN’s Population Fund, UNFPA, describes GBV as "one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world.”
So how can you get involved this 16 Days, to stand up for women’s and girls’ health and rights around the world? Here are 10 ways you can get started.
Every action counts, no matter how small, and volunteering can be a great way of putting your time and energy into the issues you care about in your community.
To get started, look for the needs in your community by researching organizations, service providers, and grassroots activists leading the fight against GBV local to you and find out what volunteering opportunities are available.
Volunteering has countless benefits, for you and for your community, and can open a door of opportunity to meet other people in your area who are deeply concerned about combating GBV too.
2. Be an Advocate on Social Media
Social media can be such a powerful tool for raising awareness of and advocating against gender-based violence — and it has the advantage that it’s easily accessible to most of us.
These 16 Days, your social platforms can serve as an instrumental tool for amplifying the activists and organizations working to eliminate GBV and to improve women’s health and rights globally.
A few ways to get started include:
- Following and sharing content created by advocates and activists against GBV locally and globally. These activists are working to eliminate FGM, one form of GBV; these activists are combating child marriage, another form.
- Turn your socials orange, the official color of the United Nations’ campaign against GBV. Whether it’s posting pics of yourself wearing orange, or adding an orange filter to your profile, there are plenty of ways to show your solidarity on socials this 16 Days.
- Research GBV and the ways we can all play a part in preventing it, and share what you learn on your socials to help others learn too.
3. Join in Global Citizen’s #16Days Challenge
This 16 Days, we’re asking Global Citizens to join us in standing up and fighting for women’s health and rights, by joining our #16Days Challenge. You’ll take a simple action each day from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, that will help you learn more about women’s rights, bodily autonomy, and gender violence online.
You’ll also start important conversations with your loved ones, advocate on social media for women’s and girls’ right to their own bodies, support women-owned businesses in your community, sign petitions to support bodily autonomy, and more. Find out more and get involved here.
4. Donate to an Organization Supporting Survivors of GBV
It doesn’t have to be money, donations can also include clothes, food, sanitary products, books, and lots more. Your donations can help empower and support people experiencing gender-based violence.
If you want to go local, do your research (online, on social media, in person) to find out what organizations working against GBV in your area need and help provide it — you could even go further and rally your friends, family, and community to drive donations too.
If you’re thinking global, again do your research to find out what organizations you want to support, but a good place to start is the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women. Find out more about what your donations can do here — for example, $10 means six women survivors of violence can receive psycho-social counselling in countries across Africa and Asia.
5. Educate Yourself on Gender-Based Violence
Learning more about GBV and understanding why it’s perpetuated and why it continues to be such a widespread global issue is an important step in combating it.
You can even start with us, before you broaden your search. Head here to learn more about gender-based violence and test what you’ve learned with this quiz; and here to zero in on GBV online, which is becoming increasingly important as our worlds and networks move online. Here are some amazing books to learn about gender equality, as recommended by activists; and we’ve curated a list of compelling podcasts too.
Don’t forget to share what you learn with others, both online (using #16Days) and through IRL conversations with your friends and family.
6. Spot the Signs of GBV and Know How to Help
Educating yourself about gender-based violence also extends to knowing how to spot the signs that someone’s experiencing GBV, and knowing how best to support them.
UN Women has a great article here on the common signs of abuse, safety tips for people experiencing abuse, and how you can help someone experiencing abuse. It also provides contact details for international hotlines.
7. Take Action With Us!
Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals, 17 goals working together to end extreme poverty and its systemic causes by 2030. The UN Global Goal 5 works for gender equality — in tandem with other goals such as Goal 3 for health and well-being, Goal 4 for education, etc.
Through our Demand Equity campaign pillar, you can join us in taking action every day of the year — including through the 16 Days campaign — to stand up for women’s health and rights. All you need to do is sign up as a Global Citizen (if you’re not already), and head here to start taking action.
Throughout the 16 Days campaign, for example, Global Citizens will be able to watch and share educational videos and learn more about GBV; support the UNFPA’s 16 Days campaign, and tell us what bodily autonomy means to you; call on world leaders to criminalize sexual harassment, promote economic rights and justice for women, and enforce anti-GBV policies; join local and global demonstrations for women’s rights; and more.
8. Show Up in Person
The 16 Days campaign is great at channelling all the year-long energy and work that activists, advocates, and organizations globally are putting into combating GBV — which means there are loads of demonstrations, marches, and protests being organized around the world.
Get involved by finding a demonstration near you and heading along, to help pressure world leaders to take responsibility and action to better protect women’s health and rights.
If you’re in Lagos, London, New York, or Sydney, for example, you can join the third annual No Tolerance March on Dec. 4, organized by Women At Risk International Fund (WARIF, a Global Citizen partner).
9. Get Your Friends and Family Involved Too
To truly end gender-based violence, we need to get the whole world involved — and that starts with you, your friends, your family, and your community.
So through these 16 Days, as you learn more about women’s health and rights and take action to end GBV, don’t forget to share your journey with others — whether online or through real in-person conversations.
If you’re not sure how to begin, you can join our #16Days Challenge for some simple actions that will help you start the conversation.
Women’s rights are human rights — and they must be promoted and protected. This 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, we’re asking Global Citizens to join us for our #16Days Challenge, to take a simple action each day that will help you learn more about women’s rights, bodily autonomy, and gender violence online.
You’ll start important conversations with your loved ones, advocate on social media for women’s and girls’ right to their own bodies, support women-owned businesses in your community, sign petitions to support bodily autonomy, and more. Find out more about the #16Days Challenge and start taking action here.