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The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was observed on November 25, 2018. The 2018 theme of the day is Orange the World: #HearMeToo and like previous editions, the date marks the launch of 16 days of activism that will conclude on 10 December 2018, International Human Rights Day.

Orange Day

  • The 25th of every month has been designated as Orange Day by the UN Women campaign Say No, UNiTE, which was launched in 2009 to mobilise civil society, activists, governments and the UN system in order amplify the impact of the UN Secretary-General’s campaign, UNiTE to End Violence against Women.
  • On the occasion, participants from across the world are encouraged to wear a touch of orange in solidarity with the cause, as the colour symbolises a brighter future and a world free from violence against women and girls.
  • Besides, a host of public events are coordinated, among which iconic buildings and landmarks will be ‘oranged’ to recall the need for a violence-free future.

Why do we need the Day?

  • Violence against women and girls (VAWG), which is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in the world currently, remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.
  • In general terms, it manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, encompassing:
  • Intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide)
  • Sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment)
  • Human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation)
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Child marriage
  • The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
  • The adverse psychological, sexual and reproductive health consequences of VAWG affect women at all stages of their life.
  • The early-set educational disadvantages not only represent the primary obstacle to universal schooling and the right to education for girls; down the line but they are also to blame for restricting access to higher education and even translate into limited opportunities for women in the labour market.
  • While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable – for instance, young girls and older women, women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities, and those living through humanitarian crises.
  • Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to the fulfillment of women and girls’ human rights.
  • All in all, the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – to leave no one behind – cannot be fulfilled without putting an end to violence against women and girls.


  • Despite the adoption of the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) by the UN General Assembly in 1979, violence against women and girls remains a pervasive problem worldwide.
  • The General Assembly also issued a resolution that laid the foundation for the road towards a world free of gender-based violence.
  • Another bold step in the right direction was embodied by an initiative launched in 2008 – UNiTE to End Violence against Women.
  • The initiative aims to raise public awareness around the issue as well as increase both policymaking and resources dedicated to ending violence against women and girls worldwide.
  • However, globally, there is still a long way to go, as till date, only two out of three countries have outlawed domestic violence, while 37 countries worldwide still exempt rape perpetrators from prosecution if they are married to or eventually marry the victim and 49 countries currently have no laws protecting women from domestic violence.
  • In 2017, the European Union (EU) and the UN launched the Spotlight Initiative, which aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by raising the awareness of this issue, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Why November 25?

  • The women’s rights activists have observed November 25 as a day against gender-based violence since 1981.
  • The date was selected to honour the Mirabal sisters, three political activists from the Dominican Republic who were brutally murdered in 1960 by order of the country’s ruler, Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).
  • On December 20, 1993, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women through a resolution , paving the path towards eradicating violence against women and girls worldwide.
  • Finally, on February 7, 2000, the General Assembly adopted a resolution, officially designating November 25 as the International day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

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