UNITE! Activism to end violence against women & girls!

Activists, social leaders, organizations, women and men demonstrate against gender violence during the "Vivas nos Queremos" March. Photo: UN Women/Johis Alarcón
Activists, social leaders, organizations, women and men demonstrate against gender violence during the "Vivas nos Queremos" March. Photo: UN Women/Johis Alarcón

VAWG remains the most widespread and pervasive human rights violation worldwide affecting more than an estimated 1 in 3 women, a figure that has remained largely unchanged over the last decade.

The most recent global estimates show that, on average, more than 5 women or girls are killed every hour by someone in their own family.

Five years ago the #MeToo movement sparked global mobilization and created a moment of urgency to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. Since then, unprecedented awareness and momentum has been created thanks to the relentless work of women’s human rights activists. 

Other movements around the world such as #NiUnaMenos, #BalanceTonPorc, #TimesUp, are also catalysing change. Ending violence against women and girls is higher on the political agenda than ever before. There has been progress in strengthening laws and policies, essential services and prevention strategies.

Progress with roadblocks

At the same time, there has been a rise in anti-rights movements and a backlash against women’s rights organizations, defenders and activists.

According to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, women defenders are facing increased repression, violence and impunity, despite formal state commitments to fulfill their legal human rights obligations without discrimination.

In many countries, we have already seen the use of force by governments to silence femicide. In some contexts, women’s rights organizations have lost their legal status.

Data from Front Line Defenders reveal that the killings of women human rights defenders is on the rise; women are routinely targeted with online violence to silence their public participation in social media.

Only 1 percent of funds to support activism

Despite these worrying trends, the presence of a strong and autonomous feminist movement is the single most critical factor to drive policy changes.

According to a study by UNDP and UN Women, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries with strong feminist movements adopted on average three more measures addressing violence against women than those that do not. Despite such evidence, women’s rights organizations and autonomous feminist movements remain severely underfunded. 

Studies show that only 1 percent of gender-focused aid from governments goes to autonomous women’s organizations and this situation is not improving despite the increased momentum and evidence of need.

Investing in women’s rights organizations

The Spotlight Initiative has invested $146 million to civil society organizations so far and has enabled over 1,000 grassroots women’s rights organizations to have greater influence thanks to the unprecedented investment of 500M Euros by the European Union. The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women has so far provided USD $198 million to over 600 civil society-led initiatives in 140 countries and territories. 

However, we need to do more. Supporting and investing in strong, autonomous women’s rights organizations and feminist movements is key to ending violence against women and girls. The Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on GBV Blueprint is working to progressively improve and increase international funding by 50% to women’s rights organizations, activists and movements including those working to address gender-based violence against women and girls in all their diversity by 2026.

For these reasons, the UNiTE Campaign theme for 2022 calls for more support to activism to prevent violence against women and girls. 

Throughout the 16 day-long period from 25 November to 10 December, all UNiTE partners, including UN agencies, Generation Equality Forum Action Coalitions, civil society, private sector, sports associations, youth groups, universities and schools are encouraged to:

  • Coordinate orange events and activities to promote support and funding to women’s rights organizations 
  • Rollout digital campaigns focused on resisting the pushback that feature the work of women’s rights activists, survivors, human rights defenders, etc.
  • Call upon stakeholders, partners and individuals to register their activism and actions to Orange The World and prevent violence against women
  • Participate and promote the digital crowdfunding campaign under #UNTFeminist and #TrustFeminists
  • Stimulate public conversations, hold virtual seminars or radio programmes to encourage individuals, organizations and others to take action
  • Engage the media, opinion makers, and explore innovative approaches to promote greater understanding of the urgent need to increase investments policies, strategies, programmes and resources to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls
  • Wear the colour orange, and create “orange” virtual spaces e.g. websites, social media accounts etc. on the 25 November and throughout the 16 days until 10 December.

Don’t know where to start? 

Access the Orange the World/UNiTE toolkit and become an activist today!




UNITE! Activism to end violence against women & girls!