The 25th of November marked the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence international campaign. This year it has the theme “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls.”
UN Women highlights some concerning facts regarding gender-based violence (GBV) around the world:
Over 1 in 3 women have an experience of gender-based violence in their life.
Over 5 girls or women are killed by a family member every hour.
Less than 40% of women who experience GBV seek any type of help or support.
If you’re interested in supporting the campaign and cause but are unsure how, here are 5 practical ideas of how you can join the global fight against GBV:
1) Learn about gender-based violence
One of the most vital things any one of us can do to support women’s rights and fight against GBV is to learn about it. Ensuring that we have the correct facts and data to not fall for disinformation is also a crucial step to take before we educate others. Look for reputable sources, like UN Women, where you can find trustworthy information, such as identifying signs of abuse and facts about GBV. UN Women has an online training centre where you can learn more about gender-related topics – and many courses are free!
You can also learn more about GBV from the awesome members of our Girls’ Globe community (use this link to view all of our articles on the topic). You can start by reading this piece from our Founder Julia Wiklander on violence against women and girls and how “the same systems that oppress women are harmful to men.”
2) Raise awareness online
Use social media for good! Follow organisations and activists that work fighting GBV. Like and share their content so that it reaches a wider audience. For content ideas that you can share, see UN Women’s social media toolkit for this year’s campaign which includes messages, graphics, and more content ideas. Also, check out Girls’ Globe’s Instagram and Twitter and explore the accounts we follow for inspiration – and feel free to follow us as well!
3) Raise awareness in person
One of my favorite experiences as an advocate happened when someone sitting across from me on the metro saw a pin I was wearing that said “ask me about PMDD” – and they did! I got to chat with the person and their friend for a while and raise their awareness of PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). This interaction taught me how even small things (like wearing a pin) and everyday actions (like riding the metro) can have an impact.
If you own pins, shirts, or tote bags that have a message about GBV, they may help you start a conversation and raise awareness as you go out in public. You can also look for ways of connecting with fellow advocates and activists in your area. They can support you and provide you with opportunities for raising awareness in your community.
4) Provide financial support
Providing financial support is not a possibility for everyone – and that’s ok! If you’re able to make a financial donation comfortably, this is a powerful way to contribute to fighting GBV. Know that there’s no such thing as an insignificant donation, as any little bit makes a difference. If you’d like to provide financial support, always look for reputable organisations. Many women’s rights organisations have different options for donation, where you can donate safely even online, such as the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. You can also look up local small organisations or charities as they may need extra financial support.
If you are able to, you can also volunteer with a local organisation to support their efforts of addressing GBV in your community. Many places around the world have women’s shelters providing support for women and girls where you could volunteer at different capacities. There are also ways to volunteer online, such as through United Nations Volunteers (UNV) which provide many online opportunities.
These are a just a few ideas for supporting this year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign to help get you started. How else could you support the campaign and anti-gender-based violence efforts – and invite others to join?