International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence

Orange the World: #HearMeToo

Date: Monday, November 26, 2018

This year, UN Women and partners around the world are marking the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) under the theme of “Orange the World: #HearMeToo". Coming on the heels of global movements and grassroots campaigns such as ‘#MeToo’, “#TimesUp”, “#BalanceTonPorc” “#NiUnaMenos”, #MeTooIndia and “HollaBack!”, the 16 Days of Activism will be a rallying moment to bring together governments, communities, survivors, activists and the public through high-visibility events, using the signature colour orange.

As in previous years, iconic buildings and monuments will be ‘oranged’ to call for a violence-free future. In events around the world, including in schools and universities in Malawi and Barbados, public transportation hubs in El Salvador, Vanuatu, and The Philippines, and soccer matches in Egypt, global citizens will stand in solidarity with survivors and advocates.

Highlights from events around the world:

Orange The World 2018

10 December

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, an orange bus traveled around 3000 km, through local bus routes in eight cities during the 16 Days of Activism, sparking conversation among riders and raising awareness of violence against women, and educate the communities about domestic violence response mechanisms. The Orange Bus provided space for more than 100 hours of discussion and information exchange for around 1000 people during the campaign.

5 December

Members of the Mithi community pledge to say no to child marriage. Photo: UN Women/Asif Ali
Members of the Mithi community pledge to say no to child marriage. Photo: UN Women/Asif Ali

Mithi, Pakistan became an example of a ‘zero child marriage’ village in Pakistan after community members took a pledge to say no to child marriage. UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka called upon the entire community to improve the lives of girls and young women by ending child marriage. “A girl who is married as a child is one whose potential will not be fulfilled. We know today that when a girl is married she misses out on her education. And if she misses out on her education, she is going to be poor". said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka during the community dialogue attended by more than 300 people. "As parents, we do not want our children to be poorer than us. In every generation we want the next generation to be better and better and better”. Read more about the Executive Director's visit to Pakistan»

4 December

Participants in the "Safe Ride" in Kampala, Uganda. Photo: UN Women/Martin Ninsiima
Participants in the "Safe Ride" in Kampala, Uganda. Photo: UN Women/Martin Ninsiima

UN Women in Uganda, together with the UN in Uganda, SafeBoda and Kampala Metropolitan police took part in a "Safe ride to end violence against women and girls". Over 300 boda riders and other participants took part in the ride as part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

3 December

The theatre performance Liberă. Photo: UN Women/ Ramin Mazur
The theatre performance Liberă. Photo: UN Women/ Ramin Mazur

Over 700 people have attended the premiere of the theater performance Liberă (Free), directed by Ianoș Petrașcu, at the National Philharmonic Hall in Chisinau, Moldova. The performance addresses the issue of violence against women and its repercussions on the future generation. It’s a play about patterns, written and unwritten laws of life. It is the story of a teenage girl, who faces gender stereotypes and her tumultuous path towards achieving her dream. Read more»

In India, the second Inter-School Girls Football Tournament went orange to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Players and spectators of the the tournament, organized by UN India, UN Women and UN Environment, wore orange hats to show their support for the continued work towards ending violence against women and girls.

2 December

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Danai Gurira on stage at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100. Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Danai Gurira on stage at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100. Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlamb-Ngcuka attended the Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100 in Johannesburg, South Africa and announced the appointment of internationally renowned award-winning actor-playwright Danai Gurira as its Goodwill Ambassador. As a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Gurira will lend her name and dedicate her support to putting a spotlight on gender equality and women’s rights, as well as bringing unheard women’s voices front and centre. Read more about Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka's visit to South Africa»

UN Women and Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development joined together to light up the Abuja City Gate to raise awareness and galvanize action during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

30 November

Purna Sen, UN Women Executive Coordinator and Spokesperson on Addressing Sexual Harassment and other Forms of Discrimination at the high-level meeting on the Prevention and Response to Sexual Harassment, Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo: Gvantsa Asatiani
Purna Sen, UN Women Executive Coordinator and Spokesperson on Addressing Sexual Harassment and other Forms of Discrimination at the high-level meeting on the Prevention and Response to Sexual Harassment, Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo: Gvantsa Asatiani

The UN Gender Theme Group in Georgia, led by UN Women, and USAID/PROLoG organized the High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Response to Sexual Harassment, to advocate for the adoption of a legislative framework regulating sexual harassment in public spaces and in the workplace in line with the relevant regional and international standards. Purna Sen, UN Women Executive Coordinator and Spokesperson on Addressing Sexual Harassment and other Forms of Discrimination participated in the meeting along with representatives of the legislative and executive branches of the Government of Georgia, civil society, the UN Country Team, and other development partners to talk about the UN System’s response to sexual harassment, global developments and the role of activism in uncovering and preventing sexual harassment. Ms. Sen has further presented the publication “Towards an end to sexual harassment: The urgency and nature of change in the era of #MeToo” recently issued by UN Women.

Jobecca Watinga singing the ‘My Dream‘ song during the launching at Marianville Secondary school, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Photo: UN Women.
Jobecca Watinga singing the ‘My Dream‘ song during the launching at Marianville Secondary school, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Photo: UN Women.

UN Women in Papua New Guinea launched a new song composed by Jobecca Watinga, a final year accounting Student at the University of Papua New Guinea. "The song is about the dreams of many young girls in Papua New Guinea for the future we want, a safe violence free society”, said Watinga. Through this song, Watinga wants to raise awareness on ending violence against women and girls and making our communities safer.

To mark the 16 Days of Activism, a delegation of more than 10 women diplomats visited Maroua, the capital of the Far North Region of Cameroon, to meet and stand in solidarity with gender-based survivors and activists. Many internally displaced persons and refugees from Nigeria have moved to this area to escape violent extremism and Boko Haram insurgency. The visit provided a platform for survivors to share their stories and experiences and raise awareness of the consequences of gender-based violence in conflict zones.

UN Women in Senegal organized a day of consultation with traditional, customary and religious leaders on how to end harmful practices such as child marriage.

29 November

In Kazakhstan, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and 16 Days of Activism were celebrated with new graffiti artwork on two walls in the center of shymkent. Also in the country, for the first time, the campaign covered all 17 regional centers of Kazakhstan with 17 flash mob dances in public places and 10 interactive theatre sessions targeted at youth raised awareness of the issues of domestic violence, violence against children, gender stereotypes and stigmatization.

28 November

Za'atari Refugee Camp Senior Camp Assistant, Rawan Majali shows her support for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign. Photo: UN Women/ Lauren Rooney
Za'atari Refugee Camp Senior Camp Assistant, Rawan Majali shows her support for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign. Photo: UN Women/ Lauren Rooney

The SpeakUp Jo Fair marked the 16 Days in Za'atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, celebrating collective efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in Jordan, with a particular focus on sexual harassment. The fair, which was open to the public, included booths showcasing participating organizations’ work on gender-based violence, panel discussions, art activities, and a bazaar featuring food items and handicrafts made by local women’s organizations.

27 November

The students of Gerardo Barrios University in El Salvador marked the 16 Days of Activism and #HearMeToo, to raise awareness about violence against women and invited other universities in the country to join Orange the World: #HearMeToo.

UN Women's team in Mozambique went orange to reflect the united commitment to eliminate gender-based violence in Mozambique and demonstrate solidarity with survivors during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

26 November

The round-table discussion went orange to launch the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in Ottawa. Photo: Christine Jean-Baptiste.
The round-table discussion went orange to launch the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in Ottawa. Photo: Christine Jean-Baptiste.

Canada was the first stop for Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka during her travels to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka participated in a round-table discussion to launch the 16 Days in Parliament Hill, Ottawa, organized by the the South Africa High Commissioner to Canada and members of the Canadian Senate. UN Women also partnered with student associations from The University of Ottawa and Carleton University, as well as members of the Senate of Canada to organize an intergenerational dialogue on mobilizing to end violence against young women on university campuses and beyond. Read more about the Executive Director's visit to Canada»

In Fiji UN staff and heads of agencies came together at a UN Women led breakfast briefing morning in support of the 16 Days of Activism to discuss the best ways for UN Agencies to collaborate and support partners to work together to end violence against women and girls.

25 November

Baalbek Temples in Lebanon go orange during the 16 Days. Photo: UN Women/Roula Rached
Baalbek Temples in Lebanon go orange during the 16 Days. Photo: UN Women/Roula Rached

In Lebanon the presidential palace, the National Commission for Lebanese Women and the iconic Baalbek Temples were also among buildings lit up in orange during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

All UN agencies in fYR Macedonia, the Government and OSCE mission to Skopje in FYR Macedonia have joined forces for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. The kick-off event was hosted in the government building and brought together high-level government representatives, members of the international community, non-governmental organization representatives, experts and academia. The event concluded by coloring the government building in orange.

The Angel of Independence in Mexico City lit in Orange. Photo: UN Women/Dzilam Méndez
The Angel of Independence in Mexico City lit in Orange. Photo: UN Women/Dzilam Méndez

Mexico answered the call to 'Orange the World' by lighting several iconic buildings and landmarks in orange on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, including the Angel of Independence statue in Mexico City.

The majestic Giza pyramids lit up in orange. Photo: UN Women/Alex Maher
The majestic Giza pyramids lit up in orange. Photo: UN Women/Alex Maher

UN Women in Egypt in collaboration with The National Council for Women hosted an event on 25 November at the Mena House hotel to mark the launch of the 16 Days of Activismunder the global theme “#HearMeToo”. The event took place with a backdrop of the majestic Giza pyramids lit up in orange, symbolizing a bright future free from violence against women and girls. The event was attended by more than 100 guests from various UN agencies, embassies, civil society organizations and other partners.

The European Parliament building in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: European Parliament/Eve Van Soens
The European Parliament building in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: European Parliament/Eve Van Soens

Brussels, Belgium went orange on the 25 November to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and kick off the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Buildings including the European Parliament, the European Commission's Berlaymont building and The European External Action Service building were lit in orange light, and the iconic The Manneken Pis statue was dressed in orange.

Participants take part in the "Dance For Kindness" event in Hanoi, Viet Nam. Photo: UN Women/Hieu Nguyen
Participants take part in the "Dance For Kindness" event in Hanoi, Viet Nam. Photo: UN Women/Hieu Nguyen

The global event “Dance for Kindness” commemorated International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women with more than 5,000 dancers participating in an event near Hoan Kiem lake, in Hanoi, Viet Nam. A two minute Freezemob paid tribute to victims and survivors of gender-based violence, and an impressive Flashmob welcomed World Kindness Week and the kick off of the 16 Days of Activism. At the same time, a photo exhibition showcasing photos and stories on ending violence to women and girls was opened to the public.

Over 1,000 people marched to the National Monument in Rwanda to mark the 16 Days of Activism campaign, organized by the Government of Rwanda and UN Women. The Kigali Convention Centre was lit in orange. Many more events throughout the 16 Days will engage the public in rural areas.

In Durres, Albania, the municipality building was lit in orange  on 25 November. Photo: UN Women/Eduard Pagria
The municipality building in Durres, Albania. Photo: UN Women/Eduard Pagria

In Durres, Albania the municipality building was lit in orange on 25 November to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and to kick off the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. UN Women Country Representative Giuseppe Belsito and the Mayor of Durres, Vangjush Dako attended the event. 



Several European cities oranged their public buildings to mark the Orange the World: #HearMeToo campaign, including Italy, Liechtenstein. France and Spain.

Yangon City Hall in Myanmar lit in orange. Photo: UN Women/Salai Hsan Myat Htoo
Yangon City Hall in Myanmar lit in orange. Photo: UN Women/Salai Hsan Myat Htoo

In Myanmar, UN Women and the Yangon City Development Committee commenced the 16 Days of Activism campaign by lighting the Yangon City Hall, a central landmark, in orange to bring attention to the issue in Myanmar and globally.


From 24 November to 10 December, several buildings of municipalities across Chile, including two of the most emblematic buildings in Santiago, La Torre Entel and the Costanera Center, as well as the UN building will be oranged in support of the 16 Days campaign to end violence against women. There will be mobilizations with civil society organizations in the community of "Lo Prado" as well as an event in Iquique to raise awareness about violence against indigenous women and girls, and a public concert by the Chilean singer Francisca Valenzuela to commemorate Human Rights Day.

A path in the Pristina City Park in Kosovo lit in orange. Photo: Pristina Municipality
A path in the Pristina City Park in Kosovo lit in orange. Photo: Pristina Municipality

A previously declared unsafe path in the Pristina City Park in Pristina, Kosovo, was lit up in orange. The mayor of Pristina, members of UN agencies, embassies and the community at large marched along the path to raise awareness of gender-based discrimination by highlighting the importance of gender-sensitive urban design, and call for a safer city for everyone.


UN Women in Afghanistan partnered with NGOs, activists and artists to bring #HearMeToo stories from women using murals, poetry and mobile theatres.

24 November

UN Women and partners in Colombia organized a public concert on 24 November and lit public buildings in orange calling for women’s right to live a life free of violence. Throughout the 16 Days, many more activities will follow, including a tribute to women’s rights activists and women’s human rights defenders during a joint event with the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights to commemorate the International Day of Human Rights Defenders.

Representatives of the Acid Survivors’ Foundation participate in the kick off event of the 16 Days of Activism in Bangladesh. Photo: UN Women/Fahad Kaizer
Representatives of the Acid Survivors’ Foundation participate in the kick off event of the 16 Days of Activism in Bangladesh. Photo: UN Women/Fahad Kaizer

On 24 November, UN Women in Bangladesh and civil society organizations came together at Shoparjito Shadhinota, Dhaka University Campus, Bangladesh, to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Twelve organizations including WE CAN, BNPS, Mahila Parishad, Indigenous Women’s Network, Concern Bangladesh, and Acid Survivors’ Foundation participated in various cultural activities, including street theatre skits, dance and musical performances under the theme of “#HearMeToo”. The ceremony was opened by Ayesha Khanom, one of the most prominent women’s rights activist of Bangladesh. There were also speeches from youth advocates, and a poem recited by a survivor of rape on her own story of fight and triumph.


In Morocco, UN Women along with the UN Country Team, UNCT, national partners, and NGOs launched the #HearMeToo campaign at the Chellah historic site, where orange balloons were released to mark the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism. UN Women, in partnership with 2M media group will support broadcasting of TV and radio programs and spots to raise awareness on ending violence against women, host interactive theatres and film screenings. Many public buildings, including the Parliament building, Modern Art Museum, train stations, EU offices and Maroc Telecom building will be oranged and Orange Tunisia will send free sms messages about the campaign to their subscribers.

21 November

Singer Sara Curruchich with those who attended her concert at the #HearMeToo launch in Guatemala City. Credit: UN WOMEN/Johanna Reyes
Singer Sara Curruchich with those who attended her concert at the #HearMeToo launch in Guatemala City. Credit: UN Women/Johanna Reyes

UN Women Guatemala launched the #HearMeToo campaign on November 21st, where more than 200 people attended, and singer and He For She ambassador in Guatemala, Sara Curruchich performed a concert. Through the 16 Days, several other activities followed, including mural paintings by Central American artists on the theme of #HearMeToo, discussions on violence against women, political violence against women and defenders of human rights, sexual violence against girls and adolescents, violence at work and harassment of women workers and new masculinities. Also, they engaged and mobilized more than 30 organizations to participate in the campaign in the entire country

20 November

Campaign slogans on pitchside LED billboards during match. Photo: UN Kosovo
Campaign slogans on pitchside LED billboards during match. Photo: UN Kosovo 

On Tuesday, 20 November, not only did Kosovo’s Football Team get one step closer to qualify for the 2020 European Football Championship, it also took a stand to end gender-based violence targeting women and girls. In the decisive match contending for the top of the group and promotion in the UEFA Nations League, Kosovo played Azerbaijan and won the home game. In collaboration with UN Women and UNDP, before kick-off, the Kosovo Football Federation announced its commitment to join the global 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence campaign. The Federation screened the campaign video, showcasing public figures calling for an end to violence, with the match moderator urging fans to take a stand against violence targeting women and girls. Throughout the 90-minute match, different 16 Days campaign related messages to end violence against women and girls, to report it, to seek help through the available helpline, and to be united against violence were displayed pitch-side on illuminated billboards. Read more.