16 days of action: campaign to eliminate gender-based violence launches with White Ribbon Day

  • White Ribbon Day launches the start of 16 Days of Action campaign
  • Organisations across the UK set to take part in events to raise awareness of domestic violence
  • UN Women encourages people to stand in solidarity and Orange The World
  • Campaign runs until Human Rights Day on 10 December


Sunday marked White Ribbon Day 2018 and the start of 16 Days of Action, a national campaign to end violence against women and girls.

Organised by the charity White Ribbon UK, the event coincided with the United Nation’s designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and began a series of events across the country to raise awareness of the impact of gender-based violence. 

The White Ribbon campaign was launched in 2005 with the aim to eradicate violence against women. The focus is on working with men and boys to challenge sexist culture and gender stereotypes which lead to harassment, violence and inappropriate behaviour or language. 

The charity encourages businesses and individuals to sign a pledge declaring their support of the campaign and commitment to action against violence. 

White Ribbon Pledge: Never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.
Stand up and be counted: White Ribbon pledge to end gender-based violence

Events have been organised across Greater Manchester in partnership with local authorities and charities to support and promote awareness of the campaign.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority backed the campaign after announcing its status as a White Ribbon accredited workplace in 2014.

Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes said: ”Greater Manchester is proud to support the White Ribbon campaign – standing together against the scourge of violence against girls and women.

”Through the White Ribbon campaign and the 16 Days of Action, we can strengthen our commitment to tackling this issue, empowering men across Greater Manchester to spread the White Ribbon message and speak out against violence and bullying.”

The 16-day event – ending on Human Rights Day (10 December) – was inspired by an international campaign coordinated by the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991.
This year, UN Women are encouraging people to ‘Orange The World’, using the colour as a theme for events, symbolising a bright future for women and girls. 

Celebrities have added their voice to the campaign as part of UN Women’s #drawaline project, a collaborative artwork created using contributions from public figures as well as the general public. The mass artwork is a symbol of the global impact of small actions, and has been supported by a host of famous faces, including Stacey Dooley, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sadiq Khan.

Businesses are also being encouraged to address the culture of sexism and violence towards women within the workplace. Supported by Public Health England and The Corporate Alliance, 16 Days of Action against Domestic Violence have assigned themes to each day to help organisations explore different forms of domestic violence. The project hopes to educate people on the impact of domestic violence and better equip the general public with the skills to protect and support victims.

Since the original 16 Days event, over 5000 groups in 187 countries have offered support to the campaign, from local charities and support groups to international organisations such as Amnesty International.
Among the organisations participating in 16 Days of Action across Manchester is Trafford Rape Crisis, a support service run by women for victims of sexual violence. To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Trafford Rape Crisis took part in #deadwomenwalking – a march in memory of women who have lost their lives through domestic violence.  

In the wake of stories surrounding gender stereotyping and sexism – from Marks and Spencer’s Christmas advertising campaign to the public outcry after a rape trial in Ireland – 16 Days of Action highlights the need for awareness and education of men and women on the causes and impact of gender-based violence.