Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the 16 Days Campaign?
- How did the campaign get its name, and why does it last for 16 days?
- Who started the 16 Days Campaign?
- What is the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL)?
- Who participates in the 16 Days Campaign?
- How can I get involved with the 16 Days Campaign?
- What kinds of activities take place during the 16 Days Campaign?
- How can I find a group near me that is working on the 16 Days Campaign?
- Who can I contact to find out more about the campaign?
- Where can I get funding for 16 Days Campaign activities? Does CWGL provide funds?
- What if I’m planning a 16 Days Campaign event on gender-based violence, but it is not related to the international theme this year? Can I still participate in the 16 Days Campaign?
- Who do I contact to report gender-based violence issues and human rights abuses occurring in my country?
What is the 16 Days Campaign?
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is a global campaign dedicated to ending gender-based violence. The Center for Women’s Global Leadership is the global coordinator. The start and end dates of the Campaign are November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence, and December 10th, Human Rights Day. These dates were chosen to emphasize that gender-based violence is a violation of human rights. The Campaign is successful because of the activism of millions of women and tens of thousands of organizations worldwide, who are committed to ending gender-based violence
The 16 Days Campaign is a global initiative that seeks to: raise awareness at the local, national and international levels regarding violence against women, strengthen local work, link local and global activism, provide a forum for dialogue and strategy-sharing, pressure governments to implement the commitments they have made in national and international legal instruments, and demonstrate the solidarity of activists around the world.
The 16 Days Campaign takes shape from local, national, regional and international initiatives around the world; it is not a single event in any one location. As the international coordinator of the campaign, CWGL provides campaign materials, serves as a hub for information and networking on violence against women, and compiles an events calendar for 16 Days activities around the world.
How did the campaign get its name, and why does it last for 16 days?
The annual “16 Days Campaign” spans the 16-day period between International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25) and International Human Rights Day (December 10) to make the symbolic statement that violence against women is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.
Who started the 16 Days Campaign?
In 1991, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership convened the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute (WGLI). The 23 participants came from different countries in all of the world’s regions and were drawn from a variety of fields – lawyers, policymakers, teachers, health care workers, researchers, journalists, and activists. During the WGLI, participants discussed different aspects of gender-based violence and human rights, learning from one another’s experiences and consequently developing strategies to increase international awareness of the systemic nature of violence against women and to expose this violence as a violation of women’s human rights. As one strategy to build awareness about gender-based violence and facilitate networking among women leaders working in this area, the WGLI participants established the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. While the United Nations now recognizes the 16 Days Campaign, the campaign originated as an effort led by civil society.
What is the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL)?
With feminist values, CWGL strengthens and bridges voices for human rights toward social justice and self-determination. Working at the intersection of gender, human rights, and economic policy, the Center utilizes an intersectional, rights-based approach to strengthen the collective impact to transform civil society. To this end, CWGL operates within a participatory strategy to:
- Convene those closest to the issue to explore and exchange holistic ideas and solutions;
- Research with an action-oriented lens, guided by partners and constituencies around the world who are committed to realizing rights for themselves and others;
- Advocate with, and for, those traditionally excluded from decision-making guided by evidence stemming from collective research.
CWGL’s role has strategically evolved over its 25-year history in order to respond and remain relevant to the times, in particular the expressed needs of its regional partners and the global feminist community. CWGL’s early and pioneering work embedded women’s rights firmly within the international human rights frame, and developed ongoing initiatives toward multi-cultural leadership for advocacy around women’s rights globally. With the global financial crisis in 2009, CWGL integrated a strong focus on economic rights and justice from a feminist perspective into its ongoing modalities of convening, training, and research. This brought, for the first time, a gendered understanding of macroeconomic policy and economic and social rights to the attention of civil society organizations, policymakers, and UN agencies. This history and expertise informs CWGL’s current programmatic goals:
- Equality regardless of identity
CWGL aims to achieve equality by eradicating gender-based discrimination and violence in the world of work, thereby addressing this issue systematically through accountability of rights.
- Peace beyond the absence of war
CWGL is redefining peace and measuring it with the indicators of equality, justice, and human rights to challenge the economy of war and violence.
- Feminist standards as the norm
CWGL is amplifying feminist thought, standards, and leadership to influence civil society and its institutions and structures, thereby addressing inequality, discrimination, and violence.
To initiate feminist movement building, CWGL ensures feminist standards in its coordination of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, which has been implemented in over 180 countries by more than 6,000 organizations, and the Feminist Alliance for Rights, which aims to influence the 2030 agenda from its position in the Global North with its network of Global South leadership.
Who participates in the 16 Days Campaign?
Since 1991, over 6,000 organizations in approximately 182 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaign. Any organization, agency, group or individual can participate in the 16 Days Campaign. Each year during the campaign, civil society organizations, advocates, activists, women human rights defenders, government agencies, corporate allies and businesses, UN staff, charities, schools, university organizations, service-providers, interest groups, and individuals plan local events and awareness-raising activities focused on gender-based violence.
How can I get involved with the 16 Days Campaign?
16 Days Campaign events are organized each year by thousands of organizations around the world. You can join or attend an already existing student, community, national or international initiative for the 16 Days or take actions on your own.
There are many ways you can participate in the campaign through our digital platform:
- Submit your planned activities and events to be featured on our interactive map. Your submissions will also enable the Center to refer other individuals and organizations that are interested in your activities to you.
- Send us your resources to be featured in our GBV database. These can include research, reports, flyers, or any other promotional materials that you would like us to showcase.
- Submit an article to the official 16 Days blog and have your work featured by the 16 Days Campaign.
- Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on 16 Days from around the world.
CWGL also relies on volunteer translators for additional translations of campaign materials. If you are interested in assisting with translating documents to make the campaign more accessible to activists around the world, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What kinds of activities take place during the 16 Days Campaign?
Events organized for the 16 Days Campaign take a variety of forms including, but not limited to protests, rallies, marches, art exhibitions, political lobbying, theater performances, vigils, roundtable discussions, film screenings, fundraisers for local domestic violence shelters, letter writing campaigns, workshops, support groups, street theater, trainings in schools, media campaigns, and petition signing. These activities are carried out by NGOs as well as UN Agencies and governments.
How can I find a group near me that is working on the 16 Days Campaign?
Our interactive map features a list of 16 Days events and organizations around the world that you can get in touch with.
Who can I contact to find out more about the campaign?
Most of the information relating to the 16 Days Campaign can be found on our website, but further inquiries can be emailed to email@example.com.
Where can I get funding for 16 Days Campaign activities? Does CWGL provide funds?
Unfortunately, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership does not have any funds or grants to provide to organizations planning 16 Days activities. You may also consider reaching out to and partnering with other organizations in your country that are planning 16 Days Campaign activities.
What if I’m planning a 16 Days Campaign event on gender-based violence, but it is not related to the international theme this year? Can I still participate in the 16 Days Campaign?
Absolutely! The international theme is chosen in consultation with women’s human rights advocates around the world each year and reflects issues that we believe are important and widely relevant. However, we encourage groups to use the 16 Days Campaign as an opportunity to work on issues that are the most relevant and pressing in their communities. Using the international campaign theme is not a requirement for participating in the campaign, and we encourage all groups to submit information about their activities.
While we do encourage groups to use 16 Days to advance local priorities and advocacy goals, the campaign also serves as a unifying tool for activists across the world. We are now in the midst of global conversation about ending GBV in the world of work, and the 16 Days campaign is determined to bring women’s voices to the forefront of this conversation. In 2018, 16 Days is launching a “global ask” – a single global advocacy goal to demand the ILO adopt a strong convention to end GBV in the world of work. Learn more about the #ILOEndGBV campaign.
Who do I contact to report gender-based violence issues and human rights abuses occurring in my country?
If you or someone you know has been abused or has been a victim of violence, the first place to contact is a local hotline, shelter, crisis centre, refuge, women’s organization or domestic violence organization. If you are unsure about where to go, Hot Peach Pages provides an international directory of service-providers. You may also consider contacting the local police or authorities to report the crime.
If you are not confident that the authorities in your country will address the violations or if the violations are grave or systemic and have been taking place with impunity, you can file a complaint with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences or the Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice. A complaint may also be filed in an individual case where the violations are egregious and representative of deeply entrenched discrimination and the risk of harm is imminent. The Special Rapporteur transmits urgent appeals and allegation letters to States regarding alleged cases of violence against women which she receives. Allegations may concern one or more individuals or may convey information relating to a general prevailing situation condoning and/or perpetrating violence against women.