November 25 - International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
The United Nations' (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is an occasion for governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to raise public awareness of violence against women. It has been observed on November 25 each year since 2000.
What do people do?
Various activities are arranged around the world to draw attention to the need for continuing action to eliminate violence against women, projects to enable women and their children to escape violence and campaigns to educate people about the consequences of violence against women. Locally, women's groups may organize rallies, communal meals, fundraising activities and present research on violence against women in their own communities.
An ongoing campaign that people are encouraged to participate in, especially around this time of the year when awareness levels for the day are high, is the “Say NO to Violence Against Women campaign”. Through the campaign, anyone can add their name to a growing movement of people who speak out to put a halt to human rights violations against women.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is a global observance and not a public holiday.
On November 25, 1960, three sisters, Patria Mercedes Mirabal, María Argentina Minerva Mirabal and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal, were assassinated in the Dominican Republic on the orders of the Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo. The Mirabal sisters fought hard to end Trujillo's dictatorship. Activists on women's rights have observed a day against violence on the anniversary of the deaths of these three women since 1981.
On December 17, 1999, November 25 was designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by the UN General Assembly. Each year observances around the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women concentrate on a particular theme, such as “Demanding Implementation, Challenging Obstacles” (2008).
Events around the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women are coordinated by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). The logo of this organization consists of "UNIFEM". The letters “U” and “N” are in blue and the letters “I”, “F”, “E” and “M” are in a darker shade of this color. An image of a dove surrounded by olive branches is to the right of the word. The image of the dove incorporates the international symbol for "woman" or "women". This is based on the symbol for the planet Venus and consists of a ring on top of a “plus” sign.
Message of the United Nations Secretary-General for 2011
Violence against women and girls takes many forms and is widespread throughout the globe. It includes rape, domestic violence, harassment at work, abuse in school, female genital mutilation and sexual violence in armed conflicts. It is predominantly inflicted by men. Whether in developing or developed countries, the pervasiveness of this violence should shock us all. Violence – and in many cases the mere threat of it – is one of the most significant barriers to women’s full equality.
The right of women and girls to live free of violence is inalienable and fundamental. It is enshrined in international human rights and humanitarian law. And it lies at the heart of my UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. Since its launch in 2008, the campaign has galvanized governments, civil society, the corporate sector, athletes, artists, women, men and young people around the world. The social mobilization platform “Say NO-UNiTE” has recorded more than 2 million activities worldwide – from protest marches to public awareness campaigns, from legislative advocacy to help for victims.
Many of these activities have received support from the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. Since it was founded 15 years ago, the Fund has delivered grants worth $77 million to 339 initiatives in 126 countries and territories. We would like the Fund to be able to do even more, but demand for support continues to outstrip resources. This year alone, the Fund has received more than 2,500 applications requesting nearly $1.2 billion. I appeal to all our partners to help us meet this vast unmet need.
Our challenge is to ensure that the message of "zero tolerance" is heard far and wide. To do that, we must engage all of society – and especially young people. In particular, young men and boys must be encouraged to become the advocates we need. We need to promote healthy models of masculinity. Too many young men still grow up surrounded by outmoded male stereotypes. By talking to friends and peers about violence against women and girls, and by taking action to end it, they can help break the ingrained behaviour of generations.
On this International Day, I urge governments and partners around the world to harness the energy, ideas and leadership of young people to help us to end this pandemic of violence. Only then will we have a more just, peaceful and equitable world.