16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence: Nov 25 to Dec 10 2009

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Maysie Maysie's picture
16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence: Nov 25 to Dec 10 2009


Commit • Act • Demand: We CAN End Violence Against Women!

Each year since 1991, tens of thousands of activists from every region of the world have taken part in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. The campaign's central messages - women's rights are human rights and violence against women constitutes a violation of human rights - have been a rallying call of the women's movement. Recognizing that violence against women affects people from every country, race, class, culture, and religion, the 16 Days Campaign provides an opportunity for activists to work together in solidarity and draw upon this period of heightened international attention to gain support for their local efforts.

In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) during last year's 16 Days Campaign, millions of people pledged their support for ending violence against women (VAW) and upholding human rights. Building upon this momentum, the Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) dedicates the 2009 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign to honoring groups and individuals who have committed to bringing VAW to the forefront of global attention, to encouraging everyone in their various capacities to take action to end VAW, and to demanding accountability for all of the promises made to eliminate VAW. Therefore, the 2009 theme is:  Commit ▪ Act ▪ Demand: We CAN End Violence Against Women!

Commit: We are All Responsible
In 1991 when 23 women from around the world met together at the first Women's Global Leadership Institute at the Center for Women's Global Leadership and envisioned the 16 Days Campaign, it was unlikely that any of them could have foreseen the incredible success of the campaign as a mobilizing tool. Because of their efforts and the commitment of so many other activists over the past 19 years, well over 2,000 organizations in 158 countries have organized around the 16 Days Campaign, and the issue of gender-based violence has received a significant amount of international attention. In planning for the campaign, CWGL asks you not only to honor and celebrate the achievements made to ending VAW, but also to encourage broad-based community participation by emphasizing that everyone has a role to play. We all have a responsibility to end gender-based violence together as women, girls, men, boys, and individuals of all generations, religions, occupations, sexual orientations, abilities, political persuasions, and socio-economic backgrounds.

Act: We Can All Make a Difference
2009 will mark the 10th anniversary of the United Nations' formal recognition of November 25th as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. There are many other landmark dates and documents that are the direct result of ACTION that women's rights activists and defenders have taken. The anti-violence against women movement provides one of the best illustrations of how local activism can translate into global action. During the 2009 16 Days Campaign, CWGL encourages individuals, organizations, governments, etc. to take action on the commitments they have made to ending VAW. Each commitment - be it a personal pledge to speak out, a local or national law, an international convention or resolution, the Beijing Platform for Action - should be seen as a promise that has been made to women. NOW is the time to act on these promises. Every action, no matter how big or small, can make a difference!

Demand: We Are All Accountable
At the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, women's organizations from around the world met with government representatives and collaboratively produced the Beijing Platform for Action - one of the most forward-thinking government negotiated documents on women's rights to date. This ground-breaking document set forth a list of actions, which, if implemented, would significantly reduce incidences of violence against women. 2010 marks the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Conference on Women. Therefore, we must all demand implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, as well as other key documents, and demand state accountability for ending impunity, allocating adequate resources, and implementing good laws and national action plans to address VAW. We also call on the UN to take bolder action on the UN Secretary-General's "UNiTE to End VAW" Campaign Framework for Action. We are all accountable for playing our part in reducing violence at the individual and community levels, as well as at the nation-state and global levels.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers University in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women, and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a human rights violation.

If you would like more information about the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign, check out the website here.

Pictures from the 2008 16 Days Campaign can be viewed on Flickr here.  



remind remind's picture

funny....just too freakin funny......


[url=http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/e5dplw.htm] Here [/url] is the Beijing Platform for Action - for anyone that is interested.


remind: what is "too freakin funny"?


It is interesting to note that the Beijing Platform for Action will only "consider" reviewing laws that contain punitive measures against women who have undergone illegal abortions:


Paragraph 8.25 of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development states: "In no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning. All Governmentsand relevant intergovernmental and non- governmental organizations are urged to strengthen their commitment to women's health, to deal with the health impact of unsafe abortion 15/ as a major public health concern and to reduce the recourse to abortion through expanded and improved family- planning services. Prevention of unwanted pregnancies must always be given the highest priority and every attempt should be made to eliminate the need for abortion. Women who have unwanted pregnancies should have ready access to reliable information and compassionate counselling. Any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process. In circumstances where abortion is not against the law, such abortion should be safe. In all cases, women should have access to quality services for the management of complications arising from abortion. Post-abortion counselling, education and family-planning services should be offered promptly, which will also help to avoid repeat abortions." Consider reviewing laws containing punitive measures against women who have undergone illegal abortions;

Lee Lakeman


I appreciate your interest and promotion of the 16 Days of Action agaisnt Violence Against Women but you might be interested to use the Canadian versions of that campaign. 

For example In Quebec it is being marked by La cles and in the anglophone side it was marked last year by CASAC in the events called Flesh Mapping: vancouver markets pacific women. 

In both these cases and many others the feminist integration of economic social and political rights is substantially more developed than what is on offer at the Amercian based Center for Women's Global Leadership which is much more limited to a civil rights approach and therfore pays less heed to race and class oppression never mind to american imperialism or multinational corporate capitalism.

Also most Canadian groups do not confine themselves to a UN model or fora which limits some kinds of actions since it relies totally on cooperation from (nation) states

The women from FAFIA and those who used to do NAC work and those of us still doing international/transnational work are very proud of the advances in feminism within Canada that tied resistance to oppression by sex to that of race and class in a much more unyielding way. 

Another difference is that the women from Canada using the international fora do so as part of their work to improve the plight of women here not just to lead the rest of the world. 

Canadian feminist praxis of course always needs improving but we must claim the achievements that are rightly ours.  Our movement is much more integrated and radical in theory and practice of the transformative politics of feminism

Borrow the dates which is the best part of the campaign and follow the Canadian strategies to demolish sexism beginning with violence against women

Lee Lakeman

Since my earlier post I have spoken with some of the Quebec organisers about plans for the actions this year.  I am thrilled that there will be a major bilingual conference on Violence Against Women at the University of Quebec at Montreal with plans for a Dec 6 anti-violence March I understand.  And I know events begin Nov 25 as they do in Vancouver.  But I am also very excited that the coaliton of groups including the rape crisis centres les calacs and the transition houses have been part of the organizing of the FFQ federation des femmes des Quebec and together they have produced a new document of what we know about violence against women.  This new unity statement of the Quebec womens movement on violence will be a great new step for the anti-violence organizing across Canada and Quebec

I understand that pornography and sexual exploitation are addressed in that document.  I can't wait to see it and have translations made available for us all.

remind remind's picture

 thanks for the head ups Lee,  make sure you post a link here please when it does...


and interestingly,  i just got an email from a friend in town here, who has a friend in Van that attended the SW conference that you spoke at yesterday.

Apparenly you, and the other woman who spoke made a serious impression on her friend...and my friend remembered that i spoke of you  posting here on this topic...

remind remind's picture

VAW workers and those who  exited from prostitution have fought to get prostitution recognized as violence against women,

and yet we have a whole freaking forum honouring it....and some people are trying to sell us the Levis Strauss nonsense it is human rights, including a basic endorsement of such from this site itself...


my request would be for babble to shut the forum down for these 16 days as a  being in a place of  democratic truth that prostitution is VAW.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Events posted in the Toronto area by METRAC



  • Risky Business: Race, Disability, and Queerness Video Screening Challenging Violence and Oppression (Wednesday November 25, 6:30-8:00 pm, OISE, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West, Room 4422). Viewer discretion is advised; some content explicit). Featuring Onyii Udegbe's Everyday Monsters and Darcel Bullen's f**k like a warrior and followed by open-spirited conversations with Dr. Rachel Gorman (feminist disability anti-colonial/anti-war mad scholar-activist) and Louise Tam (mad scholar and activist). Panelists will address the future of queer feminism through art, performance and self expression. Refreshments will be provided. ASL is available. (Note: this event is "pay what you can" at the door.)
  • Let's Talk About Sex! Radical Sexuality to Fight Sexual Violence (Saturday November 28, 2:00- 3:30 pm, Bahen Centre, University of Toronto, 40 St. George Street, Room 2159): Featuring Good for Her. This panel addresses norms of sex and sexuality as well as myths, gender fluidity and sexual freedom in relation to racialized women and our communities. Refreshments will be provided.
  • Justice not Jails: Criminalized Women and the Law (Monday November 30, 12:20-2:00 pm, Bennett Lecture Hall, Flavelle House, 78 Queen's Park): Speakers include Alan N. Young, lawyer and professor; Wendy Leaver, Toronto Police Service; Marcia McFarlane, survivor of criminalization; Donna Bascom, survivor of criminalization; Gail Teabo, survivor of criminalization; and Zahra Dhanani, METRAC. This is a discussion on legislative and procedural changes needed in Canada's justice system to address systemic issues that further marginalize criminalized and imprisoned women and violate their rights.
  • Women Against Sexualized Violence and Genocide (Monday November 30, 6:30-8:00 pm, OISE, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West, Room 2122): Featuring speakers and partners Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture and Canadian Tamil Youth Development. This panel and open discussion examines the affects of colonization and genocide on racialized women as well as global movements against sexualized violence and genocide. Refreshments will be provided.
  • Are we equal? Conversations between Muslim boys and girls Video Screening (Tuesday December 1, 6:00-7:30 pm, Metro Hall, 200 Wellington Street West): Featuring filmmaker Sidrah Laldin and a panel discussion. The video comes out of Riverdale Immigrant Women's Centre project for Muslim youth, funded by Ontario Women's Directorate. Are we equal explores the relationships between Muslim boys and girls as well as issues such as racism, family, and peer pressure that impact gender dynamics. Refreshments will be provided. (Note: this event is "pay what you can" at the door.)
  • The New Minstrel Show? Violence Against Women, Masculinity, and Hip Hop (Thursday December 3, 2:00-3:30 pm, Bahen Centre, University of Toronto 40 St. George Street, Room 2139): Featuring METRAC's Respect in Action (ReAct) youth violence prevention program and spoken word performers. This panel provides a critical analysis of mainstream hip hop and connections with racism, sexism, and gender-based violence. What is "the real hip hop"? Refreshments will be provided.
  • Profile This! A Night of Art and Activism by and for Muslim Young Women (Friday December 4, 6:00-8:00 pm, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West): Hosted by Our Collective Dreams and other community partners. Launch of the second issue of AQSAzine and the Making Noise! video project, hosted by the AGO Youth Council. This event will showcase videos, visual art, readings and musical performances by Muslim young women.
  • Dance Party: Celebrating Our Resilience (Friday December 4, 9:00 pm-1:00 am, Magic Oven, 360 Queen Street East: Featuring DJ Zahra Dhanani. Stay tuned for more information. (Note: this event is $15 at the door, sliding scale.)
  • Community Sharing Potluck for Temporary Workers, Domestic Workers, Caregivers, and Allies (Saturday December 5, 11:00-2:00 pm, Thorncliffe Neighborhood Youth Centre, 45 Overlea Boulevard: Featuring Maru Maesa, Migrante Ontario; Pinky Paglingayen, Gabriela Organizing Committee; Ambreen Akbar, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office; and Zahra Dhanani, METRAC. A fun, informative potluck gathering. Bring your friends and family to play games, eat great food, be entertained, and access great new information for temporary workers, domestic workers, and caregivers. (Note: display table sponsorships are available for this event at $15 per table. Contact us for information.)
  • Act and Demand: Tools for Community Mobilization and Resource Building (Monday December 7, 5:30-7:30 pm, City of Toronto Archives, 255 Spadina Road): A panel of learning and action for service providers and community organizers. Learn about strategies to mobilize people for action and develop skills to access funding. Refreshments will be provided.
  • Men Allies Challenging Violence Against Women Panel (Tuesday December 8, 3:30-5:00 pm, OISE, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West, Room 5230): This panel features men addressing the issue of being allies with respect to racism and gender-based violence. How can racialized women and men better work together to challenge violence against women? Refreshments will be provided.
  • Anti-Oppression Here and Now Action Session (Wednesday December 9, 1:30-5:00 pm, OISE, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West, Room 5180: Featuring speaker Notisha Massaquoi, Women's Health in Women's Hands; and facilitator Clarissa Chandler. A panel and group discussion on defining anti-oppression here and now, as well as current trends in anti-oppression frameworks. Issues that arise from this event will be built upon in the future to articulate a collective understanding of what anti-oppression means to us. Refreshments will be provided. ASL is available.


susan davis susan davis's picture

Stella, Montreal's community organization by and for sex workers, invites you to support our actions in December-to denounce violence against sex workers and to fight for our rights and the recognition of our work.   The criminalization of our work robs us of the right to security. Security that is much needed-at Stella, we record more than 60 attacks per year. The trials of two alleged sex offenders who targeted sex workers start in December.  We invite you to support the victims by demanding no to impunity towards sex worker related violence.
We call for decriminalization of the sex industry to give workers more control and safety in our workplaces.
We are counting on you, sex workers and allies, who believe in our mission, to join us for our actions:
December 7th Action to support the 5 sex workers who pressed charges against Giovanni D'Amico 10am: Demonstration in front of the Montréal courthouse 1 rue Notre-Dame Est
December 9th Action to support the 3 sex workers who pressed charges against Marco Chevalier 9am meet at Stella Demonstration in front of  the Saint-Hyacinthe courthouse 1550 rue Dessaulles We will be headed by bus (please RSVP in advance)

susan davis susan davis's picture

i have to say i am completely offended at the suggestion of shutting down the sex worker rights forum during this time. we are women and this sort of sentiment is totally counter productive. as if excluding us or shutting us down or silencing us during this time is some how furthering the cause of ending violence against women is not completely absurd.

accept it, we exist.