16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign
Thursday, October 14, 2004 9:55 AM


What is the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign?

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 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 violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including December 1, which is World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:

  • raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels
  • strengthening local work around violence against women
  • establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women
  • providing a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies
  • demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organizing against violence against women
  • creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women

Since 1991, approximately 1,700 organizations in 130 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaign!

The Annual Theme

Every year, the Global Center composes a Campaign theme in consultation with women's human rights advocates worldwide and then circulates an announcement for the campaign as widely as possible. Over the years, Campaign themes have included: "Violence Against Women Violates Human Rights" (1991/1992), "Democracy without Women's Human Rights . . . is not Democracy" (1993), "Awareness, Accountability, Action: Violence Against Women Violates Human Rights" (1994), "Vienna, Cairo, Copenhagen and Beijing: Bringing Women's Human Rights Home" (1995), "Demand Women's Human Rights in the Home and in the World" (1997), "Building a Culture of Respect for Human Rights" (1998), "Fulfilling the Promise of Freedom from Violence" (1999), "Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the Campaign" (2000), "Racism and Sexism: No More Violence" (2001), "Creating a Culture That Says 'No' to Violence Against Women" (2002), "Violence Against Women Violates Human Rights: Maintaining the Momentum Ten Years After Vienna (1993-2003)" (2003), and 2004:

"For the Health of Women, For the Health of the World: No More Violence"

If you have suggestions for a future 16 Days Campaign theme or would like to receive future announcements, please contact the Global Center.

How can I become involved in the 16 Days Campaign?

There are a number of ways to become involved in the 16 Days Campaign. If you are interested in participating as an individual, you can join an already existing student, community, national or international organization and help them coordinate activities for 16 Days -- or take action on your own! If you are part of an organization or institution, introduce the Campaign to your partners and encourage their participation and support. You can participate by,

  • Educating your community about violence against women using circulars, posters, banners, speak outs, interviews, editorials, or articles to get information out!
  • Organizing a tribunal, rally, panel, film festival, workshop, etc. with a focus on violence against women.
  • Exchanging messages of support and solidarity with individuals and organizations coordinating activities for 16 Days!

The Center for Women's Global Leadership makes a number of resources available for those who would like to plan a 16 Days Activity in their community. These include:

  • an annual Campaign Announcement which includes suggestions for action based on the current theme
  • a Take Action Kit which contains information on the Campaign, including a list of suggested activities
  • an on-line posting of all previous International Calendars of Campaign Activities which describe activities coordinated by organizations in the past.

All of these resources can be obtained by contacting the Center with your request (see contact information below) or by visiting us on-line at http://www.cwgl.rutgers.edu.

How do I connect with all of the other activities being organized throughout the world?

Contact the Center for Women's Global Leadership and we will send you the names, fax numbers and e-mails of other individuals and organizations coordinating 16 Days activities. This will enable you and other participants in the campaign to exchange letters of solidarity and support and where possible work together in the future.

If you organize an activity for 16 Days, send a brief description with dates of your planned activities, your name and your contact information to the Global Center so that we can post the information to the International Calendar of Campaign Activities. Once the calendar has been compiled, we will send copies to participating organizations. The calendar will highlight your efforts as part of a broader movement for women's human rights and provide you with examples of activities and strategies used by other individuals and organizations during the Campaign.

For more information about the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, please contact:
Center for Women's Global Leadership, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 160 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8555 USA; ph: (1-732) 932-8782; fax: (1-732) 932-1180; e-mail: cwgl@igc.org, website: http://www.cwgl.rutgers.edu.