Why is it important to have National Awareness Campaigns such as the 16 Days of Activism by UN Women?

We need national awareness campaigns such as 16 Days of Activism because we live in a world that is at war; at war with other countries, at war with ethnic minorities, at war with women and girls and at war with the LGBTQ+ community. Now more than ever, we need to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves and campaign to create awareness of issues some of us would not have experienced. And yet, 1 in 3 women worldwide experience gender-based violence. We need to look ourselves in the mirror and ask: do we care? Because I think we should.

The 16 Days of Activism starts from 25th November, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10th December, which is the Human Rights Day. In these 16 days of activism the UN Women want to use that as a chance to show solidarity in leading the way against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. They are combating and bringing to action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Centre for Women's Global Leadership in 1991. And as the decades go by, we see more more awareness created, in different forms, in different places. But this does not mean we should be complacent, saving lives depends on our activism.

Women and girls, with our allies, are globally speaking up against gender based violence and creating movements that shake the very core of the establishment and patriarchy. Campaigns such as #TimesUp, #MeToo, #BalanceTonPorc, #Niunamenos and #NotOneMore, to name but a few, have created an awareness and a global discussion about the experiences of women and girls and the minorities in our communities. In speaking out we are creating an awareness and what the 16 Days of Activism galvanises, is in shining light in the darkest corners of our society. Showing that we are here, we care and we need to do more for women and girls and that their stories need to be brought to light. The world needs to hear what women and girls’ experiences, with survivors believed and supported. It is so easy to brush such issues under the carpet because we have a perception that we have bigger problems to deal with but I would argue that helping to campaign and stop gendered violence helps build a better society that we would all want to live in and awareness created from something like the 16 Days of Activism helps in working towards that shared goal.