Today is International Day for the End of Violence Against Women. The United Nations General Assembly designated November 25 as the day in the late 1990s; the date is based on the 1960 date of the assassination of three sisters who were political activists in the Dominican Republic. The day kicks off an international campaign called “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which ends December 10 with International Human Rights Day. Seeking to end gender-based violence was also one of the core issues focused on during the International Day of the Girl 2017 event at the U.N., which I attended last month.

The theme for 2017 is “Leave No One Behind: End Violence Against Women and Girls.” The campaign aims to raise public awareness and mobilize people worldwide to affect change. We here at Girl Museum, and at the U.N. and worldwide, are committed to working toward a violence-free world for all women and girls, including marginalized communities like refugees, minorities, and people affected by conflict, natural disasters and climate change.

In a publication marking the day, the U.N. said: “Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today. Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will require more vigorous efforts, including legal frameworks, to counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination that often results from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms.” Research has shown that achieving gender equality helps to prevent conflict, and high rates of sexual and domestic violence against women directly corresponds to outbreaks of conflict. One of the major challenges in preventing and ending violence against women and girls worldwide is the lack of funding for resources and initiatives that could bring significant, positive changes.

During the 16 Days of Activism between today and December 10, you can use the hashtag #orangetheworld on all social media platforms and join the conversation with millions worldwide, as the global community comes together to address systemic and pervasive violence against women and girls. I often think about social media activism and whether it’s enough to simply post a photo or share a hashtag — and I want to do more. If you want to do more to commemorate the day, in addition to your presence on social media, I would suggest picking a charity of your choice and do some research about what you can do in your own communities. You could donate your time or money to a domestic violence shelter or draw attention to the impact of climate change on women and girls. For some people, social media and Internet activism is great, and a way to raise awareness of an issue or topic. However, if you are able to do so, channeling your energy and passion into a tangible way to help women and girls in your community and around the world is also great. Every little bit helps, so share the hashtag, join the conversation and make a difference.

-Sage Daugherty
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.


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