Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence

The world went orange: Putting a spotlight on ending violence against women

Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Originally published on Medium.com/@UN_Women

Every year, from 25 November to 10 December, activists around the world campaign to end violence against women, as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The international campaign has its roots in the feminist movement, and started at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University, USA, in 1991.

Kicking off on the International Day to end violence against women (25 November) and concluding on the International Day of Human Rights (10 December), the campaign shows violence against women is a human rights violation. This year, the UN marked the 16 Days of Activism by bringing together leaders, activists and communities around the world under the theme, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape”, calling for an end to rape and rape culture. Orange is the colour of the United Nations campaign on ending violence against women, led by the UN Secretary-General.

From orange billboards in Times Square, New York, to arenas in Colombia and federal buildings in Austria lit in orange light, events in Mozambique and street campaigns in Serbia, people from all walks of life took a stand against rape culture, sparked public dialogues and listened to survivors.

Take a look at some of our favourite moments from the #16days.

Montecitori Palace in Rome goes orange

In Italy, the Montecitori Palace, which serves as the seat of Italian Chamber of Deputies glowed in orange light.

Marching for the cause in Albania

Civil society, students and the media march in the main square of the city of Elbasan during International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Photo: Woman Forum Elbasan/Andi Allko
Students, civil society and media representatives are marching at the main square of the city of Elbasan on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Photo: Woman Forum Elbasan/Andi Allko

Young people and representatives of non-governmental organizations and media, marched at the main square of Elbasan, a city in central Albania, to call for the elimination of violence against women and girls and raise awareness about the issue.

In Egypt, Bibliotheca Alexandrina goes orange

Bibliotheca Alexandrina lit in orange for the 16 days. Photos: UN Women/ Haleem Elshaarani
Bibliotheca Alexandrina lit in orange for the 16 days. Photo: UN Women/ Haleem Elshaarani

In Alexandria, UN Women in partnership with the National Council for Women and Bibliotheca Alexandrina commemorated the 16 days of activism at Bibliotheca Alexandrina, where library staff and guests stood on its steps and lit the building in orange.

Pristina’s public library joins the cause

In Kosovo, the “Pjeter Bogdani” went orange was lit in orange to spread awareness of the 16 Days of Activism and the need to eliminate violence against women.

Celebrating activism in Mozambique

Local cultural group composed of three generations performs dances to open the event. Photo: Leovigildo Nhampule
Local cultural group composed of three generations performs dances to open the event. Photo: Leovigildo Nhampule

In Chongoene district in southern Mozambique, three generations from one community performed a dance to open the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and 16 Days of Activism. The event included drumming, the recitation of poems, a play and a discussion on violence against women.

Public spaces go orange in Serbia

UN women launches street campaign to improved safety of Women in Serbia. Photo: UN Women/
UN Women launches street campaign to improved safety of Women in Serbia. Photo: UN Women/Nemanja Jovanovic

In Serbia, UN Women launched a street campaign to raise awareness about the prevalence of gender-based violence by branding public buses in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and Kragujevac with messages and key statistics on violence against women. Other bustling parts of these cities were decorated with posters and videos.

Encouraging safe transit in Uganda

In Uganda, 500 Boda drivers came together and dressed in orange to ride for the cause of ending all forms of violence against women.

Amplifying the voices of survivors in New York

Audience members in orange scarves applaud panel speaker Ajna Jusic during the official UN commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women took place on 25 November in the ECOSOC chamber of UN Headquarters in New York. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Audience members in orange scarves applaud panel speaker Ajna Jusic during the official UN commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women took place on 25 November in the ECOSOC chamber of UN Headquarters in New York. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

The official commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women took place at UN Headquarters in New York on 25 November. The event brought together prominent speakers and musical performances to call on preventing and ending violence against women and girls.

Going orange to raise awareness in United Arab Emirates

The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, glowed in orange in Dubai, UAE to raise awareness of women’s rights and the need to eliminate all forms of violence against women.

Coming together for the cause in Ecuador

Participantes in the “Vivas nos Queremos” march. Photo: UN Women/Johis Alarcon
Participantes in the “Vivas nos Queremos” march. Photo: UN Women/Johis Alarcon

Women,men, activists, leaders, non-governmental organizations came together in Ecuador took part in the “Live We Want” March to call for urgent action to end violence against women and girls.

India’s President answers the call

Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India, was lit in orange as the 16 Days of Activism closed to echo the call for an end to rape and sexual violence.

European Commission raises awareness

In Brussels, the Berlaymont Building, which serves as the headquarters of the European Commission, was lit in orange to emphasize the European Commission’s commitment to ending all forms of violence against women.

University of Amsterdam goes orange

The University of Amsterdam’s Roeterseiland Campus lit up orange in honour of 16 Days of Activism campaign to stop violence against girls and women. The University also hosted lectures, workshops and other events to increase conversation on the topic.

Cycling to show support in Nepal

In Janakpur, Nepal, more than 400 cyclists came together to mark the 16 Days of Activism and participate in a morning bike tour to raise awareness and show support to the survivors of violence against women.

Commemorating the campaign in Colombia

Movistar Arena, the most important and modern indoor event arena in Bogotá, lighted up in orange to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Photo: UN Women/Juan Camilo Arias
Movistar Arena, the most important and modern indoor event arena in Bogotá, lighted up in orange to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Photo: UN Women/Juan Camilo Arias

The Movistar Arena, the most important and modern indoor event arena in Bogotá, glowed in orange to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Austria goes orange

For the first time the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria supported the #Orangetheworld campaign. Photo: BKMC/Eugenie Sophie
For the first time the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria supported the #Orangetheworld campaign. Photo: BKMC/Eugenie Sophie

For the first time this year, the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria, located in Vienna, went orange to show the countries commitment to eliminating all forms of violence against women.

Marching to end violence in Senegal

In Senegal, UN Women joined civil society organizations, including youth, to march and call for a stop to all violence against women and girls.