Gender equality is essential to create a safer, more prosperous, and sustainable world. Unfortunately, women are still not safe in private or public spaces, they do not have equal legal or social status in many countries. Over the past decade, the fourth wave of feminists and women’s rights activists have been relentlessly speaking up about sexual harassment, rape culture, survivor’s right, equal pay, beauty standard, and reproductive freedom. In this post, we will take a look at 5 gender equality campaigns that made huge impacts in fighting for women’s rights and safety in recent times. By supporting these campaigns, we can help bring about greater gender equality and create a better future for everyone.
These gender equality campaigns made huge impacts over the last few years by engaging common people, and leaders in empowering women to create an equitable world. They have strongly encouraged women to speak up and share their life experiences using social media and the internet which allowed women to amplify their voices and create revolution out of their everyday experiences.
UniTE to End Violence Against Women is a campaign launched by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2008 to end all forms of violence against all women in the world by actively engaging policymakers as well as leaders from civil societies, private sectors, individuals, and communities. The UNiTE campaign aims to enforce and implement laws and action plans to prevent violence against women and girls by educating and involving people from diverse backgrounds. This campaign also aims to address the worldwide use of sexual violence as a tactic of armed conflict. One of the key targets of the UNiTE campaign also is involving men and boys as active change-maker in this fight against sexual violence against women. The UNiTE campaign has proclaimed the 25th of each month as “Orange Day”, a day to raise awareness and take action to end violence against women and girls. It mobilizes people around the world to support the #OrangeDay initiative.
The day after US President Donald Trump’s election win on November 8, 2016, Teresa Shook, a retired lawyer living in Hawaii, on a Facebook post proposed a march on Washington, D.C . The suggestion quickly gained momentum as thousands came forward to support the cause. The surge of interest led to the creation of the organization Women’s March. On January 21, 2017, the day after President Trump’s inauguration, five million people marched across the globe, launching a movement. Since then Women’s March organizes rallies and demonstrations around the year to defend women’s rights. Its mission is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change. Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive social and political structures using a feminist lens and guided by self-determination, dignity, and respect.
Founded by UN Women in 2014, HeForShe movement aims in breaking social norms by signing primarily up men and boys to support gender equality. HeForShe believes that Gender equality is not a women’s issue but a threat to global human rights. They work as a systematic platform to engage boys and men in partnership with women in taking direct actions to eradicate discrimination, violence, and oppression against women. HeForShe is an invitation for men and people of all genders to stand in solidarity with women to create a bold, visible and united force for gender equality. The men of HeForShe are committed to working with women and with each other to build businesses, raise families, and give back to their communities. Since its launch, hundreds of thousands of men across all walks of society, including Global leaders, diplomats, and CEOs have committed to this innovative initiative as a change maker. IMPACT 10x10x10 is a pilot initiative of HeForShe, where leaders from three sectors-Governments, corporate, and academia would be engaged in a top-down approach to making real changes and measurable progress in gender equality issues in their respective sectors. #HeForShe
In 2006, Tarana Burke started the MeToo movement to extend support and empathy to survivors of sexual violence by creating a larger network of survivors. What started as a grass root level campaign in 2006, became a global movement in 2017 following a series of accusations of sexual misconduct by many women against famous Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. On October 16, 2017, American actress Alyssa Milano, one of the accusers of Harvey Weinstein, posted on Twitter, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,“ #Metoo hashtag became viral on social media and created a huge impact in several countries in the world. Several high-profile and celebrity actors, producers, sportspeople, politicians, and CEOs were prosecuted and convicted for sexual misconduct. The purpose of this movement eventually became larger than just sharing one’s experience of abuse and trauma. #MeToo taught us to listen and believe survivors, de-stigmatize, and validate the trauma and pain of the survivors. #MeToo was also able to redefine the culture of the workplace around the world. This movement is the voice of survivors of sexual harassment and violence and is led by survivors for survivors. They have also been fighting for systemic changes in the social and criminal justice system.
The Global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. It continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. More than 6000 organizations in approximately 187 countries have participated in the Global 16 Days Campaign since 1991. It is run annually from November 25 (International Day Against Violence Against Women) to December 10 (International Human Rights Day). The 16 Days Campaign is focused on creating awareness, finding solutions, demanding accountability, and strategizing for the prevention of gender-based violence. Each year between November 25 and December 10, organizations, activists, and individuals engage in campaigns, awareness, and education about eliminating GBV. #16daysofactivism is used on social media to create traction against gender-based violence against women. Grassroots women’s organizations, non-governmental organizations (national, regional, and international), UN agencies, and governments use #16daysofactivism to raise awareness and showcase progress on eliminating GBV. The focus of this campaign is to mobilize local and global organizations to pressure governments to implement commitments to eliminate gender-based violence against women.