International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence
Coverage: UN Women Executive Director travels around the world to mark the 16 Days of Activism
Date: 25 November 2016
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will be traveling to countries around the world to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.
5 - 6 December, India
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka concluded her 16 Days of Activism tour with a visit to India from 5 - 6 December. At a high-level event in Mumbai, UN Women and the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IMC) unveiled a new partnership to underline the critical link between women’s economic empowerment and ending violence against women, and the need for urgent and adequate investment in the twin themes. Read the press release»
Accompanying the event, and to mark the UN Women-led Orange the World initiative, iconic Mumbai monuments such as the Gateway of India were illuminated in orange to mark the 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women, along with Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Western Railway building, and the University of Mumbai.
The conference titled “WeUNiTE: Investing in Planet 50-50”, convened private sector leaders, UN officials, gender experts and activists to discuss how skill development, entrepreneurship and innovation could help achieve gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.
“Violence against women is a gross violation of rights for women and girls and a setback for society. There is also a clear and direct link between violence against women and their ability to participate effectively and productively in the economy, including lost workdays, lower income, increased public expenditure and lost opportunities for education, employment and political participation,” said Ms.Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “Under investment in both gender equality and ending violence against women comes at a high human and economic cost. To prevent and end violence against women requires all key institutions in society to work together, to provide services to victims and survivors of violence,” she added. Read her speech»
A key highlight of the event was an ‘Equality Dialogue’ between Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka and Ms. Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director and CEO, ICICI Bank Ltd., India’s largest private sector bank.
“I will be doing whatever I can in my capacity to create awareness about gender equality,” said Indian film actress Katrina Kaif, a special invitee at the conference.
1 - 4 December, Papua New Guinea
On 3 December, her final evening in Papua New Guinea, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka attended the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup final at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby. Together with its partner FIFA, UN Women encouraged the audience of almost 15,000 people at the final game between France and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, to join the Orange the World initiative and end violence against women. Before the game began, the audience heard the following message: “One in three women and girls worldwide will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. A safe world is every women and girl’s right. Join us in standing together—Sanap Wantaim—for a brighter future free from violence against women and girls.”
"Violence against women and girls has a devastating impact on our vision for a world where women and girls can flourish and prosper peacefully alongside men and boys," said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka. "We thank FIFA for joining advocacy efforts to raise awareness throughout the tournament," she added.
Prior to the FIFA match, the Executive Director hosted a meeting with the four women Member of Parliaments (MPs) from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Rose Pihe, former MP and current President of the Bougainville Federation of Women; Ms. Marceline Kokiai, Member for Central; Ms. Isabel Peta, Member for South and Ms. Josephine Getsi, Open Seat and Minister for Community Development. The meeting focused on the importance of women's leadership in politics.
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka urged the MPs to support one another and form a bipartisan caucus to advance laws and policies that would advance the issues of gender equality and end violence against women. "Your success is critical," she said. "Pick key issues that would benefit women and the people and work on them until you deliver. Show everyone that when you elect a woman, she takes action and she delivers. You want the community to know that you are not only the liberators of women, you are the liberators for all those that need your help."
On 2 December, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka participated in a vibrant event to mark the "Orange the World" initiative and to launch a new women's only bus, called "Meri Seif Bus", as part of UN Women's “Safe Public Transport for Women and Children Programme” at Gerehu Market, Papua New Guinea (PNG). Joining her for the event were Mr. Powes Parkop, Governor of National Capital District Commission (NCDC); the Australian High Commissioner; the New Zealand Deputy High Commissioner; representatives from the European Union and other government officials, civil society, youth and market vendors.
The women's only buses are particularly relevant in the context of PNG, where more than 90 per cent of women and girls have experienced some form of violence when accessing public transport, according to a scoping study by UN Women in 2014. The buses provide, with tracking systems and uniformed bus crews, safe public transport for women and a space to discuss issues affecting their safety and mobility. The women's only buses are generously funded by the Government of Australia, in partnership with UN Women and Ginigoada Bisnis Development Foundation. Read more about the programme
"The bus is only a temporary measure," explained Governor Powes Parkop, during his opening speech. "For now, it’s important to keep the women safe...As part of the Safe Cities Initiative, lighting was installed and local police was assigned to patrol the market regularly. However, this is not enough. We also need to change culturally. Men have to stop using violence against women because it is wrong," he added.
Speaking at the event, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said, "The real aim here is to create ‘a new normal’. More men have to stand together and say they won’t hit a woman. Women have to stand together and support other women. Children have to stand together and be respectful." Standing together is the key message of the Sanap Wataim Campaign, which is the Papua New Guinean version of the UN Secretary-General's UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign.
"When I used to catch the old buses, I was harassed by men," shared Big Ma Ma Janet Awe, a market vendor and President of the Gordon Market Vendor Association. "Now that we have the women’s only buses, we can go to and from various markets without worrying about our safety." Big Ma Ma Janet Awe and many vendors have reported significant improvement to their safety, not only on the buses but also in the market, since the implementation of UN Women's Safe Cities initiative in Port Moresby.
Later that day, the Executive Director also participated in a panel discussion organized by the Australian High Commission on engagement with civil society to end gender-based violence in PNG. Other panellists included: Ms. Diane Kambanei, Executive Director of YWCA, PNG; Ms. Janet Benabo, Director, Rural Urban Development Foundation and Ms. Jacqui Joseph, Country Programme Manager, Equal Playing Field, PNG. The panellists discussed various ideas and approaches, including fighting impunity and ensuring that perpetrators are punished, empowering women and youth and sport-based interventions to promote gender equality. The Executive Director stressed on the importance of investing in projects to prevent violence against women and girls and working with men and boys on the issue. Read her speech>
In a press conference, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka engaged with more than 20 print, radio, television and online journalists from PNG and encouraged them to report and advocate on issues of gender equality and women's empowerment, particularly critical issues such as gender inequality in women’s leadership and political participation and sorcery-related violence in the country.
The day ended with the Sanap Wantaim (Stand Together) Campaign finale concert held at the Port Moresby Aquatic Centre. The concert brought together celebrity musicians, activists and close to 900 people, to promote the message of men and women, boys and girls standing together to make the city safe for everyone. The concert was held on the eve of the final game of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup which has adopted the theme of ending violence against women and girls.
On World AIDS Day, 1 December, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, to award journalists for outstanding reporting on issues related to HIV and AIDS and gender-based violence at the 2016 Annual Media Awards organized jointly with UNAIDS.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) has one of the highest prevalence of HIV and gender-based violence (GBV) in the world. According to the recently published report by UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, HIV and GBV are deeply interlinked. Gender-based violence increases the risk of HIV by limiting women's ability to negotiate safe sex. At the same time, people living with HIV experience high levels of GBV. Both issues are highly stigmatized and the many women living with HIV who are subjected to GBV do not seek help due to fear of discrimination.
The 2016 Annual Media Awards recipients included Ms. Florence Jonduo, who received the award for her story on transgender women living with HIV, Mr. Alexander Rheeney for best editorial, Ms. Grace Auka for excellence in reporting, and Ms. Deborah Prantis, who was awarded the first prize for excellence in reporting on GBV in her TV programme. Read more>
This also marks the Executive Director's first visit to Papua New Guinea and upon arrival, she met with the Governor of National Capital District Commission (NCDC), Mr. Powes Parkop, to discuss the collaboration between UN Women and the NCDC on the Safe Cities Initiative and the Sanap Wataim Campaign, the localized version of the UN Secretary-General's UNiTE Campaign. Mr. Parkop spoke about the recent march to the Parliament House on 25 November, where thousands of people joined to raise awareness on ending violence against women as part of the 16 Days of Activism.
In the days to follow, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will also speak at the Sanap Wataim/UNiTE concert hosted by the National Capital District Governor Mr. Powes Parkop; participate in the launch of the new “Meri Seif Bus”—a bus exclusively for women and children—provided as part of the Safe Cities initiative; and attend the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup final, which carries ending violence against women and girls as its official theme. Read more»
28 - 30 November, Malaysia
From 28 - 30 November, the Executive Director is traveling to Malaysia to attend the Eighth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning, co-hosted by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and the Open University Malaysia (OUM). The Forum, themed "Open, Online and Flexible Learning: The Key to Sustainable Development" is bringing together experts in open and distance learning (ODL) to share ideas and best practices.
At a public lecture hosted by the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, on how to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals deliver on their promise of gender equality, the Executive Director said: "It should be possible for a child who is born 10 years from now to ask us, ‘Is it true that women were so severely discriminated against?’ By that time inequality will be more of an exception than the rule, and the next generation will live in a world that is free from this form of discrimination. It is in our hands to achieve that. We are the first generation to have the possibility to make this a reality." Read the full speech>
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka also delivered a key note speech at the Eighth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Kuala Lumpur. Read her speech>
The Executive Director also signed a Memorandum of Understanding between UN Women and the Commonwealth of Learning for advancing gender equality and empowerment of women and girls through education.
24 - 26 November, Liberia
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka started her travels to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, a global campaign running from 25 November to 10 December, with a visit to Liberia.
During the visit, the Executive Director participated in a high-level panel on the empowerment and leadership of women and girls, alongside Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“To sustain [pay] inequality for people doing equal work is a big violation of their rights. There are a number of very critical and specific changes that are needed in the economy. It is critical that the laws that are in more than 100 countries that still discriminate against women are addressed,” said Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
“We know that when we empower women, when we respect women, and we fight for the rights of our sisters, our daughters, our wives, our girlfriends our mothers, our grandmothers, we are fighting for our entire community,” said Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.
Mr. Trudeau announced that Canada will provide USD 10 million over five years, beginning in 2016-2017, to support UN Women’s work in West Africa, including Liberia. Support will target priority areas such as increasing women’s representation in politics and government, and supporting women leaders to champion issues of gender equality.
In her meeting with the Ambassador of Sweden, Ms. Lena Nordström, the Executive Director emphasized upon the strong partnership between Sweden and UN Women. During the meeting, they discussed the ongoing support from Sweden for the UN Women Country Office Strategic Note and the Joint Programme on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Liberia, for which Sweden has generously contributed SEK 60 Million for three years. The Executive Director also commended Sweden for its coordination role in the Donor Partners Forum on Gender, a mechanism that brings together all the donor partners to deliberate on strategic priorities and investments, including progress made in the area of gender equality and the empowerment of women. At the global level, Sweden remains a key partner to UN Women and continues to contribute to UN Women’s core resources.
On the evening of 24 November, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka launched the 16 Days of Activism Campaign with the orange lighting of Liberia’s Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection building in Monrovia.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign that is marked every year by governments, the UN system, activists and organizations worldwide. This year’s action theme, ‘Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls’, calls for lighting up iconic buildings around the world in orange to raise global awareness and mobilizing resources to end the pandemic of violence everywhere.