US: 16 Days Campaign Commences November 25


Commit Act Demand:  We CAN End Violence Against Women! On November 25th, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) will launch the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, a global project it has coordinated for 19 years from its base at Rutgers University in New Jersey.  Each year the campaign, which mobilizes tens of thousands of people around the world, raises awareness of the many forms of violence faced by women from all walks of life, of every economic status, and in every community throughout the world.

This year’s campaign honors groups and individuals who have committed to bringing violence against women to the forefront of global attention, to encouraging everyone in their various capacities to take action to end violence against women, and to demanding accountability for all of the promises made to eliminate such actions.

Radhika Balakrishnan, CWGL executive director sees the focus on action and advocacy from a human rights perspective as a key element of the campaign and an important message for the world. Keely Swan, coordinator of the 16 Days Campaign at CWGL noted, “It has been incredibly exciting to see how this year’s theme Commit ▪ Act ▪ Demand is resonating with so many people in diverse parts of the world.”  The evidence of this can be seen on the 16 Days Facebook page, which has generated over 1000 fans over the past few weeks.  When the campaign concludes on December 10th, groups will send results of their activities to CWGL to be shared on website.  
Over its history, more than 2800 groups from 156 countries have joined the campaign to end violence at the local, national and global levels. A quick glimpse of just a handful few of the hundreds of events already planned, shows the geographic and creative span of actions:
·    An international network of community radio broadcasters will be hosting programs on themes related to gender violence throughout the campaign;
·    In Canada, one group is having a series of programs including a seminar on masculinity and hip hop with a critical analysis of mainstream music and its intersections with racism, sexism, and gender-based violence;
·    There will be numerous self-defense training workshops in schools in Belize to teach youth about how to protect and respect themselves and those around them;
·    A women’s organization in Georgia will be hosting an online conference to discuss femicide, violence against women, and the implications of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security
·    In Kenya a group of men will be traveling to a number of rural locations where they will do performances related to topics of violence against women and how men can be positive role models in the world to end gender-based violence;
·    An organization in south India will be hosting an event for each day of the campaign, including symposiums on the intersections of gender violence with internal displacement, public health, media portrayal and reporting, mental health, and sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as hosting creative programs such as how to incorporate theater and poetry into sensitization work

Swan encourages everyone to visit the website and join the campaign on Facebook.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers University 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 and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a human rights violation.