December 21, 2014 | Sunday
It has been 60 years since the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which clearly states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights whereas everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as…sex”.
Besides the United Nations and other human rights advocates, the EU has clearly articulated a political will to treat the subject of women’s rights as a priority through a long term action in this area in addition to the adoption of guidelines on violence against women and girls.
Throughout the years of its existence the EU has demonstrated a strong commitment to integrate all gender perspectives into all legislation, public policies, programmes and projects. It has sent a clear message to all governments to facilitate coordination of different actors, including civil society, to ensure the effective implementation of laws and policies addressing violence against women and girls.
25 November marked the International Day to End Violence against Women, which kicked off the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December). This year, the United Nations led by the UNiTE campaign, took place under the theme “Orange your neighborhood – End violence against women and girls now”. The campaign has particularly focused on local actions towards ending violence against women and girls, while using orange as the uniting color of all advocacy efforts under the uniting slogan “Orange the World in 16 Days”.
The EU campaign was mainly conducted via social media while synchronizing well with the UN campaign. The social media campaign stirred debate over issues such as: violence against women and girls, education and training of women, women and poverty, women and armed conflict, women and health, women and economy, women in power and decision-making, mechanisms for the advancement of women, women and the media, women and the environment, the girl child.
Various studies have indicated that impoverished and marginalised groups of women and girls are exposed to higher risks of violence. Education plays a significant role in defying harmful gender stereotypes that in the first place promote or condone violence against women and girls and fosters discrimination against them. We need education systems that break the stereotypes, not enforce them.