Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence
Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!
Date: Friday, November 27, 2020
Every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women until 10 December, Human Rights Day, the world turns orange as many countries join the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign in support of eliminating violence against women and girls. This year’s theme, “Orange the World: Fund, Prevent, Respond, Collect!”, announced by the UNiTE campaign, calls for urgent action and rapid response to the alarming surge in violence against women and girls seen this year.
Even before COVID-19, violence against women was one of the most widespread violations of human rights, with almost 18 per cent of women and girls experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner over a 12-month period. As the pandemic raged on, an alarming upsurge of the “shadow pandemic” of violence against women became evident, with increased rates of reporting on domestic violence.
This year, as in previous years, many countries from across Europe and Central Asia joined the campaign by lighting up their landmark buildings in orange and organizing a variety of events in support of the call of the campaign. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, innovative online campaigns and interactive digital art initiatives marked this year’s campaign. Here’s an overview of how Europe and Central Asia commemorated the occasion.
UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia hosted an online conversation with famous feminist singers from Russia and Central Asia - Manizha and Zere, which was broadcast live on YouTube. Through their personal stories, Zere and Manizha discussed the role of women and girls in patriarchal societies, widespread gender stereotypes holding them back from full enjoyment of their rights and freedoms, as well as actions that everyone can take to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence. The conversation was moderated by Nastya Krasilnikova, a prominent feminist blogger, journalist, producer and author of documentary series and Telegram-channels "Enough" which raises awareness about domestic violence in Russia. Read more about the live event here in Russian and watch full live session here.
In Kazakhstan, an animated video shared information for women on how to contact crisis centers and the available services, in 3 languages – Kazakh, Russian and English. The video was distributed widely on both traditional and social media, as well as messaging apps reaching over 1 million people.
How do you ensure sexual safety during #COVID19?— UN Women Europe & CIS (@unwomeneca) December 17, 2020
For tips, watch the video of Ukrainian musician Stas from the Yuko band & Natalia, Director General, Social Film & Advertising Festival.
Follow Fight Like A Girl on Instagram for more: https://t.co/nEHh2UgtN0#EU4GenderEquality pic.twitter.com/alephttvmF
New campaign from Ukraine, Fight Like a Girl, teaches self-defense to women and girls. The campaign features fifteen fun explanatory videos. The videos debunk stereotypes about women and girls and teach the audience how to identify different forms of gender-based violence and cybercrime. They also cover essential topics for young adults such as consent to sex, sexual security during the COVID-19 pandemic, and understanding toxic relationships. Videos provide guidance on physical self-defense, through a short series created in partnership with the National Police of Ukraine, shows how women and girls can respond to potential attacks from abusers and ensure safe escape.
The campaign was developed by Gender Stream, a grassroots women's rights initiative from Dnipro, and UN Women in Ukraine, in the framework of a joint UN Women and UNFPA regional programme, funded by the European Union. To watch the videos, follow the campaign’s Instagram account: @FLG_UA. Read more.
Look Beyond campaign aims to dismantle traditional masculine and feminine roles related to household chores and childcare. It was designed around the belief that the unprecedented situation of a world-altering pandemic can also provide us with a unique opportunity to address the unbalanced distribution of unpaid care work responsibilities and challenge the preconceptions about what women and men can and should do. Challenging gender stereotypes within the family and encouraging men to understand and define their masculinity in different ways is also a way to prevent incidents of domestic violence, allowing women to feel safer in their own homes.
The campaign was implemented jointly by UN Women and UNFPA, in the Eastern Partnership region, within the framework of “EU 4 Gender Equality: Together Against Gender Stereotypes and Gender-Based Violence” programme, funded by the European Union. Read more.
In Chisinau, Moldova, a mural of around 700 m2 was painted to depict images and messages dedicated to gender equality and elimination of violence against women in support of the global campaign. Main color of the mural art is orange, a symbol of hope for a better life without violence for every woman and girl, in line with the international “Orange the World” theme. This initiative was implemented by UN Women Moldova funded by Sweden. Read more.
Social media network Odnoklassniki (OK) and UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia have launched an awareness-raising campaign #NeMolchite (Do not be silent) in support of the global 16 Days of Activism campaign. Read more.
Building up on the collaboration from last year, UN Women teamed up with the Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra in organizing a philharmonic concert to raise awareness on the need to end violence against women and girls. Supporting the cause of the campaign, the Kosovo Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestra’s concert served as a call to end violence against women and girls. Following COVID-19 restrictions, the number of participants in the concert was limited this year.
More than 100 women with disabilities, activists and representatives of ministries and civil society from the Western Balkans and Turkey exchanged information and good practices on addressing violence against women with disabilities at the webinar “Intersectional solutions to eliminate violence against women and girls living with disabilities”. The webinar was organized on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December.
This webinar, organized by the European Union, the Council of Europe, and UN Women, was the second one in the series "A thousand ways to solve our problems: Preventing and responding to violence against women from an intersectional perspective in the Western Balkans and Turkey," organized within the framework of the EU-UN Women programme “Ending violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey: Implementing Norms, Changing Minds.” Read more.
Five creative workshops with teenagers from five regions of Moldova, Chisinau, Cahul, Ungheni, Leova and Comrat, took place within the framework of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign. Young people learned more about the ways to convey messages through art, importance of ensuring gender equality and combating gender stereotypes in their communities, as well as how they can get involved in eliminating violence against women and girls. Read more.
Together with UN Women in Kazakhstan, a media outlet focusing on gender equality and women’s rights, Manshuq Media, ran a communications campaign around 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Creative social media posts, Instagram stories and illustrated human interest stories in Kazakh and Russian raised awareness about intimate partner violence. Check out the stories in Russian, “I mistook violence for love” and “I was able to get away from my husband who beat me”.
My generation, your generation, let’s talk gender! A unique new podcast from UN Women’s Europe and Central Asia office connects gender equality activists from across generations and all walks of life. Generations Talk Gender thoughtfully explores issues of common concern for women and girls, all of which lead to one goal: gender equality, everywhere.
The first episode of the podcast kicks off during the global 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. Read more.
45 per cent of the women and girls who responded to the OSCE-led survey on violence against women in North Macedonia in 2019 stated that they have experienced some form of violence. To raise awareness on gender-based violence, the "Broken objects" video has been produced, as part of the Say No to Violence Against Women and Girls campaign in North Macedonia, implemented by the United Nations in North Macedonia, the Mission of OSCE to Skopje and the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of North Macedonia.
International online gathering in Kazakhstan spotlights prevention of violence against women and women’s access to justice.
The conference is jointly organized by the National Commission for Women, Family and Demographic Policy under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan (National Commission), OSCE Programme Office in Nur-Sultan, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), UN Women, UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and Ne Molchi Public Fund. Read more.
HeForShe Turkey partner Fenerbahçe Sports Club, one of the biggest sports clubs in Turkey, drove a powerful campaign for this years’ 16 Days of Activism to raise awareness and call for the elimination of violence against women and girls by demanding #ZeroTolerance.
On 25 November, Fenerbahçe announced a manifesto on Twitter to combat violence against women. Twenty famous athletes from different club branches participated on Twitter, flooding the social media platform with Fenerbahçe’s messages from the new manifesto. Fenerbahçe also published its manifesto online with a video showing Fenerbahçe Sport Club employees and the club president, Ali Koç calling for #ZeroTolerance to violence against women. Read more.
From trainings in self-defense to real-life stories of survivors of violence, from awareness-raising meetings with various religious communities to donations by the private sector - a wide array of over three hundred activities and events were organized in Albania, appealing to ‘listen, believe and support’ survivors of violence. The Government of Albania, UN Agencies, women’s and youth organizations, private companies, and the media, joined the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. UN Women organized a number of events commencing on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, through to 10 December, Human Rights Day, with the financial support of the Swedish Government and the European Union. Read more.
In Ukraine, the New Scars project is about violence that may be difficult to acknowledge but leaves the survivor in an everlasting pain for many years. Violence can have different manifestations: psychological, economic, physical, sexual. The fear and shame of being stigmatized as survivors of violence force women and girls to remain silent. Only acknowledging the problem and hearing voices of survivors can make society fund, respond, prevent and collect data to eliminate violence against women and girls.
The premiere of the performance New Scars took place on 25 November at Dovzhenko center. The interactive game version of the play will be available for the audience on the website https://scars.org.ua/en/. The performance will be available on TV UA: Culture and streaming service MEGOGO. Read more.
Kyrgyzstan launched the 16-Day Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign on 25 November, calling for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. The Mayor's Office in the capital city of Bishkek supported the annual 16-day campaign against gender-based violence by flooding the building in orange lights from 25 November until 10 December, with an official launch ceremony held on day one. An outdoor campaign aimed to change social norms rejecting gender-based violence and influential poeple joined UN Women's social media challenge: “We are equal”. Read more.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, women are at a higher risk of domestic violence as safety, health and economic worries heighten tensions. Cramped and confined living conditions across many parts of the world, including in Serbia, further accentuate the strains. Under the headline "You are not alone. Report violence!", UN Women has produced a video in Serbia calling all women and girls who experience violence to report to proper channels and not to wait until the pandemic passes.
The Spotlight Initiative Regional Programme in Central Asia, in collaboration with FemAgora, a feminist non-government organization in Central Asia, joined forces for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence under the global theme, Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!. Over the course of 16 days, the campaign highlighted the importance of crisis centers, their daily work, shelters, hotlines, and direct anti-violence services as the backbone of civil society activism to end gender-based violence. Read more.
Public buildings in Chisinau and other regions of Moldova are lit up in orange, as a sign of solidarity for a brighter future without violence against women and girls. On 25 November, in front of the Parliament building with participation of State Officials, the national campaign was launched. Read more.
This year, the UN Agencies, Ambassadors, representatives of Government and civil society organizations in the Republic of Moldova joined the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence with their strong messages to support survivors and to show that we are united against violence.
Atakule, iconic tower of Ankara, the capital of Turkey, turned orange in support of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign and UN Women Turkey's fireflies campaign to end cyber violence against women and girls.
Women and girl survivors of violence deserve a better life, safe and free from violence and fear. This video was produced by the Observatory for Children’s Rights in Albania as part of the project “Data collection on gender stereotypes and public perceptions of gender roles and attitudes towards violence against women”. The video was supported by the EU-UN Women regional programme on Ending Violence against Women "Implementing Norms, Changing Minds".
The TV Tower of Georgia's capital city Tbilisi was lit up in orange to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November.
UN Women coordinated the initiative in Georgia with support from the Tbilisi City Hall. Tbilisi first joined the campaign in 2016.
UN Women Turkey’s 16 Days of Activism signature campaign Fireflies is lighting up screens this year to raise awareness to eliminate online and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facilitated violence (cyber violence) against women and girls. Calling everyone to “light a firefly and light the dark” to mobilize 1 million fireflies, the campaign draws attention to women and girls who are harassed on digital spaces and experience cyber violence. The campaign aims to create an online solidarity network and raise awareness and knowledge of the general public on cyber violence, its manifestations and consequences, and ways to protect oneself and others.
“As all forms of violence against women, cyberviolence affect women’s sense of safety, their physical and psychological health, their dignity and rights. Acts of online violence may also force women to retreat from the Internet, affecting their access to services and information, as well as their voice, visibility and participation in public life..” says Asya Varbanova UN Women Turkey Country Director. Read more.
In Tajikistan, a series of radio programs were dedicated to 16-days campaign against gender-based violence. Tajik bloggers launched challenge #orangetheworldtj on Instagram, as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign. UN Women in Tajikistan supported the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence in the regions and held a public information campaign. Dushanbe hosted a national kickboxing championship, dedicated to the 16-days campaign against gender-based violence. As part of the campaign, more building across Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, turned orange than ever before. Read more.
In North Macedonia, the Kale Fortress and the Government Building in Skopje were lit up in orange to symbolize a world free of violence against women and in solidarity with the call of 16 Days of Activism. The building of the European Union Delegation and Presidential Residence Vila Vodno also joined the call and lit up in orange.
In Ukraine, the Gulliver shopping mall was illuminated in orange starting from 25 November to 10 December. The facade of the shopping center is the largest in Ukraine and Europe and always serves as a key visual space for Kyiv, informing people about important events in the city and in the country.
On the occasion of 16 Days of Activism, UN Women in Moldova developed a video aiming to highlight the importance of supporting women survivors of violence and to increase access to services. As violence against women increases globally during the pandemic, it is important for women to be aware of service providers, including public institutions, civil society organizations, social workers and the Trust Line for Women and Girls, where women and girls can report cases of abuse and ask for help. The pandemic revealed some weak spots in the prevention and response systems but services for survivors of violence are still available in Moldova.
In Georgia, UN Women launched online video campaign ‘The virus of indifference kills’. 41 per cent of the population in Georgia think that domestic violence is a family matter. A new campaign by UN Women challenges the status quo and calls everyone not to stay indifferent to violence against women. Read more.
In Kazakhstan, 27 embassies and international organizations, including UN Women, UNICEF, UNFPA, EU and OSCE published a joint statement for the 16 days of activism campaign. The joint video message reiterated the international community’s commitment to ending violence against women, a grave human rights violation.
Under the “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!" theme more than 90 events were organized in Kosovo, by UN Women and partners. Several public events galvanized attention and action to end the pandemic of violence against women. From the Assembly Building, to the Mother Theresa cathedral and Grand Mosque, iconic buildings illuminated in orange light, to symbolize the hope for a brighter future. As every year, the campaign events were organized through the UN Women chaired multi-stakeholder Security and Gender Group (SGG) in Kosovo.
Within the 16 Days of Activism campaign, UN Women supported "The Last Tunnel" installation which was placed at one of the most frequented squares in Pristina, the capital city of Kosovo. Thousands of citizens had the opportunity to see the awareness-raising installation which tackled the topic of femicide in Kosovo. Stories of women victims of femicide in Kosovo were placed in the square where citizens had the opportunity to read the real stories of women who were murdered by their family members over the years. The Last Tunnel was implemented by SIT - Center for Counseling, Social Services and Research and supported by UN Women Kosovo, UNFPA Kosovo, CARE International Balkans, Austrian Development Agency and Oak-Foundation. Read more.
Around 150 private companies, public institutions, media outlets, civil society organizations, sports associations, youth groups and universities in Albania ‘oranged’ their virtual spaces during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. In early November, UN Women Albania launched the ‘Orange your Logo’ initiative by inviting everyone to join forces and take action to support survivors, share information on the prevention of violence against women and girls, and donate to women’s organizations. Orange-colored logos and awareness-raising messages were posted and shared on multiple social media accounts, thus galvanizing an orange movement. Dozens of government institutions and municipalities around the country also oranged their physical premises and virtual spaces. Read more.
UN Women marked the beginning of 16 Days of Activism campaign with a panel discussion held on 24 November. The focus of this year's campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on violence against women and girls. The campaign emphasized the importance of ensuring unrestricted access to services for survivors of violence in time of crisis, as well the contribution of the broader community to the prevention of violence against women, with a particular focus on the media. The opening event included remarks by Ambassador of Sweden to Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Johanna Strömquist, UNFPA Representative, John Kennedy Mosoti, and UN Women Representative, David Saunders. A panel discussion focused on the increase of violence against women during the pandemic. Joško Mandić, Expert Advisor at the Agency for Gender Equality of Bosnia and Herzegovina of the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees; Jasmina Mujezinović, Executive Director of the Foundation of Local Democracy from Sarajevo; and Radmila Žigić, Director of Foundation “Lara” from Bijeljina particpated in the discussion. Participants concluded that all members of society – government, civil society, private sector, and the media, play an important role in the elimination of violence against women and girls and making public and private spaces safe for women and girls. The discussion was streamed via Facebook, watch here.
 All references to Kosovo on this website should be understood to be in the context of the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).