The 16 Days of Activism to End Gender Violence is underway! Below are some key facts and information about the campaign including its history, significance, and important dates. Throughout these 16 days, we look forward to sharing more information about the campaign while highlighting different ways IDF partners work with women and girls to address the violence that they face.

Tostan provides a human rights-based education program across communities in eight African countries. Their latest short film entitled, “Religious Leaders at the Forefront of Social Transformation,” showcases the role of religious leadership in the movement for human rights in West Africa. Find here a new perspective to the narrative about Islam, human rights, and the role of women and girls:

This year’s global 16 Days of Activism theme is End Gender-Based Violence in the World of Work. Learn more about the Center for Women’s Global Leadership vision for Dignity at Work here:

We also invite you to spend the coming days in personal reflection by revisiting The Inukshuk Blog posting on November 15, 2017, “God As Us” – Me Too where a special two-week series by the Center for Action and Contemplation is still available:

How the Campaign Started

The 16 Days of Activism began in 1991 when a group of 23 women representing a number of sectors from different countries and regions of the world came together at the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute with an interest in building the global women’s human rights movement. Here they discussed different aspects of gender-based violence and human rights, how to expose the systemic nature of violence against women, and ways to show how this violence is a violation of human rights.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence was established as one strategy these women developed to create awareness about gender-based violence (GBV), choosing to symbolically link November 25th (International Day Against Violence Against Women) and December 10 (International Human Rights Day). The link between these two days illustrates violence against women as a human rights violation. This 16-day period incorporates other important dates as well, including World AIDS Day on December 1st and World Disabilities Day on December 3rd.

Today’s Significance

Over the years 16 Days campaigns led by local activists have helped change the course of the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights and, with the help of international non-governmental organizations, led to the establishment of a UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, It’s Cause and Consequences. In 2006, the UN Secretary General (SG) consulted with civil society representatives to develop an in-depth study on violence against women in consultation with representatives from different societies. The SG’s multi-year global campaign, “UNiTE to End Violence Against Women,” and other UN agencies’ initiatives on VAW were a follow-up to this study. Since 1991, the 16 Days of Activism campaign has become a major venue for increasing people’s awareness of the UN human rights system.

Over the past years more than 5,179 organizations in 187 countries have organized 16 Days of Activism campaigns to effectively bring education, awareness, and discussion to the issue of gender-based violence on local, national, and international levels. Today, violence against women still happens everywhere, taking different forms according to its cultural context. The 16 Days of Activism campaigns continues to provide unique opportunities to build bridges across cultures and within cultures, helping people to learn from the similarities and differences that exist and adapt new ideas and practices.

For more information see

International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women

The International Day Against Violence Against Women was declared in 1981 by the first Feminist Encuentro for Latin America and the Caribbean, a major meeting of female leaders from the region who come together to discuss and organize around issues impacting women. At this first gathering participants established the International Day Against Violence Against Women in honor of the Mirabal sisters, who opposed the Trujillo dictatorship, suffered and were violently assassinated in the Dominican Republic on November 25, 1960. The United Nations General Assembly officially declared November 25th as the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women in 1999.

For more information see

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 each year around the world. Founded in 1988, World AIDS day has become one of the most recognised international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS, support people living with HIV, commemorate those who have passed on from AIDS-related illness, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

WHO and UNAIDS took the lead on World AIDS Day campaigning from its creation until 2004. From 2004 onwards the World AIDS Campaign’s Global Steering Committee began selecting a theme for World AIDS Day in consultation with members of local organisations and government agencies involved in the AIDS response. World AIDS Day is incorporated into many 16 Days of Activism campaigns because violence against women is both a cause and consequence of HIV and AIDS. around the globe to raise awareness on the link between violence against women and HIV/AIDS.

For more information see

World Disabilities Day

Annual celebrations of persons with disabilities began in 1981 with the International Year for Disabled Persons. The goal of this day is to promote a better understanding of disability issues, focusing on the rights of persons with disabilities and advantages of the integration of persons with disabilities into every aspect of society. The World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982, helped established this aim of full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities.

World Disabilities Day is also incorporated into many 16 Days of Activism campaigns since women and girls with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to violence. Women with disabilities lack the same opportunities and access to resources as those living without disabilities and face more stigma and discrimination from their communities. Many 16 Days of Activism campaigns celebrate the strengths, abilities, and unique contributions women with disabilities bring to every culture.

For more information see and

International Human Rights Day

On December 10th people and states throughout the world celebrate the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On this date in history, nations of the world joined together to try to overcome the genocide raised by the Second World War. International Human Rights Day is the last of the 16 Days of Activism to encourage reflection on women’s rights as human rights.

Facts and Figures to Consider About Women and Girls in the World:
• An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10-20%. An extra year of secondary school boosts their wages 15-25%.

• Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of school among mothers. In other words, increased schooling for women and girls ensures healthier babies and children.

• When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90% of it into their families, as compared to only 30-40% of a man.

• Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15-19 worldwide. Compared with women ages 20-24, girls ages 10-14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15-19 are up to twice as likely, worldwide.

Eliminating violence against women and girls allows them the opportunity to attend school, live healthier lives, and positively contribute to their societies socially, culturally, and economically.

For more information see and