November 25 is celebrated every year as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The day marks the launch of 16 days of activism, culminating on International Human Rights Day (10 December). Several events are held in various parts of the world to commemorate this day and remind everyone how important this issue is.
Thought behind it
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a prevalent problem in today’s world. This widespread and devastating issue remains one of the major human rights violations of our times. Unfortunately, most of the victims of such violence remain silent due to various socio-economic factors.
It is important to remember that VAWG is not just physical. It includes sexual and psychological violence as well. Thus, it manifests in various forms. For instance, psychological abuse, marital rape, forced marriage, stalking, harassment, sexual trafficking, child marriage, and so on.
The violence that women face has a lasting impact on their lives, which they face at various stages. It forms a major hurdle in the empowerment of women, leading to consequences such as restricting their access to education and jobs.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women aims to spread awareness about all these issues and prevent such violence. It is a call to promote advocacy and create opportunities for discussion on challenges and solutions.
Theme for this year
The colour orange symbolizes happiness, brightness, joy, and freedom. Thus, the theme for this year has been chosen as ‘Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now’.
UN Women has stated in a report that nearly 45% women reported that they or someone they know have faced violence against women. At least 65% reported experiencing this at one time or the other in their lifetime. In times such as the COVID-19 pandemic, these instances of violence have increased and women have reported feeling more unsafe.
This sort of gender-based violence is preventable. However, this can be done only through awareness and constant advocacy and education. This year’s theme celebrates the brighter future that women can look forward to if they stop facing violence.
Our work for women
Smile Foundation’s Swabhiman programme has been working for the empowerment of women since several years. Apart from educating on various aspects of their lives, we also work actively to spread awareness in the community and within men. This ensures a holistic approach to bettering the lives of women. Behavioral change is at the core of ending violence against women. And this is something that we are actively working on through our various on-ground initiatives.