16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence 2022

16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence 2022

According to the UN, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual campaign that begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs through International Human Rights Day on 10 December.

The campaign, led by civil society, is supported by the United Nations through the Secretary General’s UNiTE by 2030 initiative to end violence against women. This year’s theme for the 16 Days is “UNiTE! Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls.”

Violence against women and girls remains the most pervasive human rights violation around the world. Already heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, its prevalence is now being further increased by the intersecting crises of climate change, global conflict and economic instability.

Against this backdrop, there is a global backlash against women’s rights. Anti-feminist movements are on the rise, as are attacks on women human rights defenders and activists, and the legal status of women’s rights in many countries. Regressive new laws increase impunity for domestic violence perpetrators, governments use force against femicide and gender-based violence protestors, and women’s rights organizations are increasingly marginalized.

Despite these depressing trends, there is more evidence than ever that violence against women and girls can be avoided. Evidence shows that a strong and autonomous women’s movement is the single most important driver of policy change, making feminist mobilization in the face of anti-rights backlash a literal matter of life and death.

This 16 Days, the UN encouraging everyone to get involved: from amplifying the voices of survivors and activists to supporting women’s organizations and strengthening feminist movements, we can all act to empower survivors, reduce and prevent violence against women and girls, and protect women’s rights

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, 2022

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day is annually celebrated on the 19th of November, to honor, empower and help businesswomen eliminate poverty. Despite the crucial role women play in the economic and social well-being of their communities, they are yet to be equally included in meaningful participation in the economy, according to the US Department of state. Around 2.4 million women of working age worldwide, are not presented with equal economic opportunity, and this must change.

To achieve gender equality, and peace, among other crucial development outcomes, we must first reach women’s economic empowerment, which enables them to contribute to their communities’ health and education, and by extension alleviate poverty.

We could substantially improve the living standards of close to 388 million women and girls, which were estimated to be experiencing extreme poverty in 2022, only by empowering women economically; and in doing so, we will also succeed in sustaining just and harmonious societies. Sadly, we barely achieve half the global average of women’s meaningful participation in public administration in fragile and conflict-affected countries; this results in diminishing peace and hinders women’s participation in the economy. Moreover, women play a major part in post-conflict recovery, as they are more likely to spend their incomes on family needs and largely partake in conflict recovery.

Economic empowerment for women and girls will result in increasing protection of natural resources, eliminating gender-based violence “GBV”, as well as attaining better educational and health outcomes. Considering that poverty is highly associated with gender-based violence, which negatively affects women’s participation in the economy, it is vital to empower women economically to reduce GBV.

Frequent gender-based violence holds back women’s participation in the economy, considering the strong link between the two, GBV and economic empowerment should simultaneously be targeted by national and international policies to ensure the greatest positive impact for women worldwide.

It’s a well-known fact that the climate crisis has a more significant effect on women and girls in all their diversity, but it has an even more dramatic impact on women in poor and marginalized areas, who face bigger problems, such as droughts or floods.

Furthermore, the representation of women in climate leadership roles and international climate negotiations, is majorly lacking, compared to their efforts in mitigating the crisis, as they bear unproportioned responsibilities for unpaid care and domestic work, in addition to spending an estimated 2.5 times more time on unpaid care work than men.

What’s more is that 35% of women, don’t even have access to bank accounts, and are only presented with three quarters of the legal rights already available to men.

All these gender-based restrictions, lower access to productive resources, and legal discrimination, on top of being subjected to GBV, limit their economic participation. These issues need to be addressed.

In agreement, the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues urged expanding the economic participation of women, which is beneficial to reaching a fruitful, conflict-free, and sustainable world. For that reason, the US department announced its plan to participate in these efforts, via 2 flagship programs.

The first program is, Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE), a global association including over 40 organizations, which aims to eliminate women’s issues, conflict, GBV, and economic insecurity. It works on enhancing women’s rights, with the help of local civil society organizations.

While the second is the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), which mainly focuses on guiding and funding women entrepreneurs and giving them direct access to domestic and international markets.

Taking quick actions to fulfill a safe environment and equal participation opportunities in the economy, must be treated as a top priority by the US government, in collaboration with other governments and all private sectors, globally.

 

United Nations “UN” Women goodwill ambassador for Africa intensifies efforts to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM) in Liberia

UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for Africa, Jaha Dukureh, announced her upcoming visit to Liberia from the 19th to the 27th of this month, to advocate against female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, and support the country’s attempts in the matter.

As a Gambian survivor of both FGM and child marriage, Ms. Dukureh was elected for the position of UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for Africa in February 2018, to share her support of eliminating FGM, a brutal and extremely harmful act against women of all ages and child marriage as well.

Following the youth mobilization and campaigning in Gambia, she worked side by side with women’s organizations and civil society, and played a part in the FGM ban, enforced by the Gambian Government in 2015.

Moreover, she partook in former president, Barack Obama’s investigation on FGM in the United states, in addition to the following summit to end FGM at the United States Institute of Peace.

Coincidentally, her visit will correspond with the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence campaign, which will take place from 25 November to 10 December, under the global theme, “Unite, Activism to end violence against women and girls” and national theme, “With one voice, let us unite to end violence against women, girls and children.”

Ms. Dukureh’s visit comes after Liberia’s sign up to the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Gender Based Violence in 2021, aspiring to lend a helping hand to the country’s efforts towards the elimination of FGM through multi-stakeholder engagements and high-level advocacy and social mobilization, according to a quote by Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Liberia Country Representative.

A public screening of “Jaha’s Promise”, a biographical documentary film about the life and advocacy efforts of Jaha Dukureh, will be among the highlights of her visit, along with engagements with various stakeholders including traditional and religious leaders, followed by a solidarity walk to end gender based violence in Liberia, and of course the launch of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based violence, as well as the launch of a Vocational and Heritage centre in Sonkay Town, Liberia, one of four vocational and heritage centers established by UN Women under the framework of the European Union and UN Spotlight Initiative, which will presumably offer alternative economic livelihood programs to former traditional practitioners of FGM in Liberia.

We expect, the goodwill ambassador is going to engage with a diverse group of change makers, which includes diplomatic community, civil society, government officials, women’s organizations, traditional leaders, and the media, along with raising awareness on the depth, scale, and the brutal repercussions of FGM, and reinforce the overall public knowledge.

Back in February 2022, the national Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia joined by the Government of Liberia, declared the prohibition of FGM for three consecutive years, 2022-2025.

Unfortunately, this didn’t change the absence of an FGM criminalizing law in Liberia, among three West African countries, even after signing regional and international human rights instruments, including the Maputo Protocol that seeks to outlaw FGM, and condemns the practice as a human rights violation.

The Liberian government’s efforts to put an end to all gender-based violence, through the global Spotlight Initiative pursuing the elimination of violence of all forms against women and girls, including FGM and other harmful practices, are strongly supported by UN women.