Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!UN Women offices in Europe and Central Asia marked this year's 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence with events, orange buildings, social media campaigns and much more from 25 November to 10 December 2021, under the global theme set by the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign: “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!”
The closing ceremony of the 16 Days of Activism campaign and the final match of the “Orange Ball” girls futsal tournament (a modified form of soccer, with five players per side) were held in Dushanbe on 10 December with the support of the Spotlight Initiative programme in Tajikistan in partnership with the Tajik Professional Futsal League. The tournament, was held among 224 girls aged 13–17 years old, with regional and national-level games. Its key mission was to encourage more girls to engage in sports, particularly futsal, while encouraging equal opportunities and breaking gender-based stereotypes. Read more.
A meeting between Kazakhstani bloggers and influencers and popular Tajik-Russian singer, Eurovision 2021 finalist and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador to Russia, Manizha Sangin, took place in Almaty on 9 December. The meeting was organized by UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia as part of the global 16 Days of Activism campaign. During the meeting, the bloggers talked about the problems women face in Kazakhstan, shared their personal stories and discussed the ways they can contribute to ending violence against women using their social media accounts and their spheres of influence.
Manizha inspired local bloggers with her experience, explaining how she takes effective action against gender inequality and gender-based violence and why she created the SILSILA Fund to contribute to efforts to end violence against women and girls, specifically those that are migrants. Influencers highlighted the importance of breaking the silence. They created a network and committed to creating awareness on the elimination of violence against women on social networks. Manizha also met journalists, activists, and representatives of civil society organizations.
On 6-8 December, Manizha, a popular Tajik-Russian singer, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, and a co-founder of SilSila foundation fighting domestic violence, jointly with Nadjiba Usmanova, a co-founder of the foundation, visited Kyrgyzstan to support the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based-Violence. During her visit, Manizha met with local bloggers and influencers to discuss the status of women’s rights in Kyrgyzstan and the role of opinion leaders in contributing to the efforts to end violence against women and girls. Manizha also visited crisis centres and met with local women’s rights organizations, activists and experts to discuss ways to support survivors of domestic violence and women migrants.
The UN, the EU and the OSCE Mission to Skopje have joined forces for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence under the slogan “Don’t be quiet, don’t endure, END IT!” in North Macedonia. On 2 December, at the Philharmonic Orchestra of North Macedonia, Macedonian pop stars including Tamara Todevska, Dani Dimitrovska, Antonija Gigovska, Svetlana Jovanovska, John Ilija Apelgren, Luka Gjogievski (Fank Shui), and Branko Nikolov (Foltin) joined to sing “Black Eyes”, arranged by Djijan Emin and adapted by Dime Popovski and Vasia Popovska. The song invites all men and women to step forward, speak clearly and say loudly – “Don’t be quiet, don’t endure, END IT!” For more photos from this event and from across the region, visit the regional 16 Days of Activism Flickr album.
Drawing attention to violence against women, the “Light the Dark” art exhibition kicked off at Yoğurtçu Park, Kadıköy on 27 November 2021 with the participation of Ekrem İmamoğlu, the Mayor of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality; Eleftheria Pertzinidou, the Minister Counsellor and Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Turkey; Peter Ericson, the Consul-General of Sweden; Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia; and Asya Varbanova, UN Women Turkey Country Director. The exhibition depicts different forms of violence against women and girls through the creative use of lighting designs and installations.
Within the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, UN Women Turkey Refugee Response Programme organised “Non-Violence Summit” and “Creating a World Without Violence” exhibition in Gaziantep, a southeastern province of Turkey, on 26 Novermber 2021. The campaign aimed to raise awareness on all forms of violence against refugee women and local women living in Gaziantep, which hosts the second largest number of Syrian refugees in the country after Istanbul.
At the Summit, findings of a dialogue meeting held with Syrian refugee women and local women living in Gaziantep (read more under 15 November) were shared with local public institutions, CSOs and all other relevant stakeholders. The Summit also hosted “Creating a World Without Violence” exhibition to showcase art works produced by women (read more under 18 October).
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a group of Kazakhstani bloggers and influencers publicly spoke out against gender-based violence. They joined the global 16 Days of Activism campaign by initiating a photo project “Orange the world. Kazakhstan,” which was supported by the UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia. Orange was the primary branding of the photo exhibition as a color symbolizing a world free from violence against women and girls. The bloggers and influencers that participated in this colourful and creative initiative expressed their views on violence against women on their Instagram accounts and called everyone to take concrete action to end gender-based violence as soon as possible. The photo exhibition engaged more than 22 thousand people and was published in the leading Kazakh media outlet Tengrinews.kz.
On the same day, UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia also hosted a live broadcast on Odnoklassniki social network named, “Online violence: How can women be protected?” with women’s rights advocates and experts on the topic. The discussion took place as part of the global 16 Days of Activism campaign and covered many issues related to gender-based violence. Participants discussed the relevance of this problem in the region, described the signs and explained different types of violence against women and girls. They also offered solutions to combat cyberbullying and provided guidance and recommendations on how to prevent and address abuse. During the broadcast, which was watched by more than 917 thousand people, users asked questions to experts and discussed relevant issues in the chat.
On International Day for the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence, the Government of Tajikistan, the UN and the EU gathered to launch the Tajikistan chapter of the ground-breaking Spotlight Initiative which aims to end sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls. The event also launched the national 16 Days of Activism Against gender-based violence campaign. A wide range of stakeholders - government officials, UN agencies, EU representatives, donor community, national and international organizations, civil society, media, youth groups and activists - joined the event in solidarity to promote action on the issue of violence against women and girls. Read more.
UN Women Turkey kicked off the #RaiseYourVoice campaign to raise awareness on what to do if one witnesses violence against women and girls. UN Women has been using fireflies as the symbol of solidarity against violence since 2018. This year’s campaign hands the mic to everyone to say “I am raising my voice”. Visitors can download their voice recordings, share them on social media, and invite their friends to join in solidarity. Visitors can also listen to incidents of violence to learn about ways to take action against an act of violence. The cases are recorded by well-known celebrities from Turkey who take a stand against violence against women, including Demet Evgar, Ceyda Düvenci, Deniz Bayramoğlu, Emre Sakçı, Pınar Deniz and Gupse Özay. The media partner of this campaign is Milliyet newspaper, which is a members of UN Women’s Media Compact.
“The Witness 2021” is a mapping installation created by the contemporary artist Ecem Dilan Köse. The piece uses power of sound to put a metaphorical distance between women and violence. Through the artwork, the artist invites everyone to raise their voice against violence against women and girls.
The visitors interact with the installation through a visual show taking place on a 20-squaremeter led screen which is responsive to movement and sound. The screen senses the movements of the commuters and turns them into a unique dance of fireflies – a symbol UN Women has been using in Turkey as part of the 16 Days of Activism. The microphone embedded in the area invite passersby to record their messages against violence against women. “The Witness 2021” creates an interactive experience for the audience and invites them to support the #RaiseYourVoice Campaign led by UN Women as part of 16 Days of Activism. Watch the video of the installation.
Pristina, the capital of Kosovo , turned orange for 16 Days of Activism. From the Pristina National Library to places of worship, including the Grand Mosque and the Mother Theresa Cathedral, many landmark buildings turned orange raising a strong call for a brighter future for women and girls free from violence.
In Serbia, 2021 was marked by several very important cases of sexual harassment and abuse in which well-known public and political figures were involved as alleged perpetrators. The cases sparked the so-called Balkan #MeToo movement and raised the whole society against pedophilia and sexual violence, starting a debate on sexual violence against underage girls and women.
In this context, the focus of this year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign in Serbia was a theater play, which aimed at disseminating strong messages against violence against women and girls. The one-hour play "Pussycat is fried" was created with the aim of causing transformative change in young girls and boys, to develop healthy and respectful relationships. The play included famous Serbian actors and actresses and premiered on 25 November in Teatar na Brdu. It is set to play for a whole theatre season, several times a month. The premiere was attended by over 350 people including many celebrities, Deputy Prime Minister, numerous ambassadors and other UN Women partners and friends.
UN Women in Serbia marked this year's 16 Days of Activism together with the Coordination Body for Gender Equality in the Republic of Serbia, the Ministry of European Integration, the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia and the Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade. The total reach of the campaign stands at around 5 million in Serbia.
Gender-based violence has detrimental effects on everyone and cannot be considered a private matter. To highlight this, a number of private sector companies and corporations in Kosovo joined this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign. As part of the global campaign against gender-based violence, the participating companies disseminated information on gender-based violence through their own communication channels. Special emphasis was given to providing the hotline phone numbers for reporting cases of gender-based or domestic violence. In this regard, companies used their social media accounts to spread messages against gender-based violence, placing messages on their products, creating “orange corners”, disseminating brochures, and displaying posters in their premises.
UN Women in Kazakhstan released a video message from the heads of diplomatic missions and international organizations, calling on the public to take a stand against gender-based violence. In addition, 35 diplomatic missions and organizations operating in Kazakhstan signed a joint statement backing the campaign. It affirms their commitment to end violence against women and girls, commends women activists, and urges the Government of Kazakhstan to further introduce legislation to ensure full and comprehensive protection for women and girls. On the first day of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, an interactive audiovisual exhibition entitled “Ordinary Objects” opened in Nur-Sultan. It presents 16 seemingly ordinary things: a glass, a book, a shoe, etc., but behind each item is the real story of a person who suffered from domestic violence. The city of Nur-Sultan has also joined the global 16 Days of Activism campaign, lighting the capital's landmark Baiterek Tower and other city sights in orange throughout the 16 days.
An interactive workshop on violence against women titled “Dialogue Meeting” was conducted with the attendance of beneficiaries from UN Women-supported centres, mainly Syrian refugee women and local women living in Gaziantep. During the dialogue meeting, refugee and local women drafted their own manifestos by exchanging views on causes of violence against women, and protection and prevention mechanisms.
As part of 16 Days of Activism, an art workshop brought together Syrian and local women in Gaziantep to co-create and deliver messages on ending violence against women through art. The messages were based on their unique opinions and experiences and the art works were created in collaboration with professional artists.
 All references to Kosovo should be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).