Closing of the 16 Days of Activism to end Violence against Women and Girls with “Leave No One Behind” as the Global Theme

Abby-Sade Brooks, an organizer for the Caribbean #lifeinleggings movement fighting violence against women, poses on the campus of the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica ahead of women’s marches planned on Saturday in seven Caribbean nations, March 8, 2017. Thomson Reuters Foundation / Rebekah Kebede

CAIRO, Egypt, December 13, 2017–Starting on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November), hundreds of events worldwide, led by UN Women and partners, bolstered efforts to eliminate violence against women, a pandemic that affects one in three women globally. Events from marches and concerts to sports days took place, and iconic buildings lit up in orange to galvanize attention during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December).
The 16 Days campaign, which mobilizes governments and the public alike, is commemorated by the United Nations under the umbrella of the Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women by 2030. Orange has been designated as the color of the UNiTE campaign as it symbolizes hope and a violence-free world. The call is for everyone to “Orange the World” and play their part to end violence against women and girls, taking the outcry to action. In 2016, people in a record 105 countries participated.
In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, this year’s theme for the campaign is “Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls”. It underscores that – while no group of women or girls is exempt – there is an urgent need to identify, protect and support the most vulnerable ones.
“The commemoration of the International Day to End Violence Against Women was overshadowed by the terrorist attacks in Bir al-Abed, leaving many women behind as widows and traumatized. At the same time, it is the women’s strength and resilience that will help Egypt come out stronger from these difficult times. The solidarity of all Egyptians in their call for zero tolerance of all forms of violence is also a reminder and signal for zero tolerance of violence against women. Violence against women has costs, not only for those who suffer it, but also their families, communities and society at large. Egypt’s ‘Year of Women 2017’ and the 16 Days of Activism are a reminder that everyone has a role to play to end all forms of violence against women, including through media, popular culture and mass communication channels. It is only when we all join our voices and actions, that we help unleash the tremendous personal and societal benefits of an environment free of violence against women.” says Jorg Schimmel, UN Women Country Director a.i.
UN Women Egypt Country Office, in collaboration with its several partners, organized several events during the 16 days. Among the main activities were the launch of the Mobile Film Festival, implemented in cooperation with the European Union, a handicrafts exhibition by women beneficiaries including refugees, and the first screening of a short movie on girls’ education entitled “Mariam and the Sun”, produced under the leadership of the National Council for Women with the support of the Embassy of the Japan, and subsequently released online on different social media platforms. The commemorations further witnessed a celebration by UN Women and Care where – under the USAID funded “Women’s Employment Promotion Programme: safe and secure workplaces for women in the agriculture sector” 30 women signed fixed-term employment contracts after benefitting from a series of vocational and soft-skills training. Through these fixed term contracts, women have secured monthly finance that flows into the local economy in rural areas as well as social and medical insurances and free safe transportation offered by the participating firms which helps protect women against sexual harassment.
Funded by the European Union, CARE Egypt along with the NCW and UN Women also organized a march in Minya to raise awareness on Violence against Women, which ended with an interactive theatre performance from Safe Cities.
With the aim to engage men and boys in achieving gender equality, UN Women in partnership with the NCW launched the new campaign “Because I Am a Man”. Launched on 22 November and with immediate support received from the football player Mohamed Salah and a number of public figures including Zap Tharwat (Rap singer), Dhafer Al’Abdin (Actor), Osama Kamal (Media Figure), Khaled Habib (Media Figure) and Mohamed Hefzy (Scriptwriter), the campaign has already crossed 1 million online views. In addition, on the closing of the 16 Days of Activism, UN Women and the NCW organized an event to launch the key findings of the International Men and Gender Equality Survey and to officially announce the launch of “Because I am a Man” Campaign. The event also witnessed the screening of a short documentary featuring several male champions supporting their female partners because of their strong belief in gender equality. by APO Group on behalf of UN Information Centre in Cairo.

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