The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute (WGLI) sponsored by the Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women, and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women (VAW) and human rights and to emphasise that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.
The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organising strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of VAW by:
- raising awareness about gender-based violence (GBV) as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional, and international levels;
- strengthening local work around VAW;
- establishing a clear link between local and international work to end VAW;
- providing a forum in which organisers can develop and share new and effective strategies;
- demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organising against VAW; and
- creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate VAW.
Since 1991, over 4,114 organisations in approximately 172 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaign. Any organisation, agency, group, or individual can participate. Each year during the campaign, civil society organisations, advocates, activists, women human rights defenders, government agencies, corporate allies and businesses, United Nations (UN) staff, charities, schools and universities, service providers, interest groups, and individuals plan local events and awareness-raising activities focused on GBV. These events take a variety of forms including, but not limited to, protests, rallies, marches, art exhibitions, political lobbying, theater performances, vigils, roundtable discussions, film screenings, fundraisers for local domestic violence shelters, letter writing campaigns, workshops, support groups, street theatre, trainings in schools, media campaigns, and petition signing. To see a list of events from the most recent or upcoming campaign, see the International Calendar of Campaign Activities.
2016 is the 25th anniversary of the 16 Days Campaign. Click here to learn about a half-day event to be held on November 30 2016 New York, United States (US), where speakers and audience members will discuss and reflect on the critical role global activism has played in bringing together diverse stakeholders on a common agenda: elimination of GBV.
For more information about the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence and to learn how to take part: