In June 1991, the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) together with 23 women from 20 countries - all participants of a meeting on Women, Violence and Human Rights, called for a global campaign of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.

Since that date over 800 organisations in more than 90 countries have participated in the annual global campaign, ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence’  which calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against women. 

In 2000 this annual сampaign celebrated its tenth year. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence runs from 25th November to 10th December and highlights the following:

  • November 25, UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This day commemorates the politically active Mirabal sisters who were brutally murdered by the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in 1960.

  • December 1 is World AIDS Day. The twin pandemics of HIV and AIDs are decimating communities globally. Women are more susceptible to infection and are infected at a faster rate than men.

  • December 6 marks the anniversary of the 'Montreal Massacre', when a man shot and killed 14 women engineering students for "being feminists".

  • December 10 is recognised as International Human Rights Day. In 1948, on 10 December, governments acknowledged the human rights of all to "life, liberty and the security of person...without distinction of any kind," as they signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence - Caucasus
Public education and media awareness are a top priority in global efforts to combat violence against women and WomenAid International initiated and supported the establishment of a Caucasus 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign.  The Caucasus 16 Days supports the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the White Ribbon Campaign and other activities that promote an end to violence against women and children. 

The key objectives of WomenAid International initiating and sponsoring a 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence in the Caucasus are:

  • Government Commitment

    Gain both the commitment and the recognition by governments, that violence against women, whether by public or private perpetrators, is a human rights violation;

  • Legal Reform

    The signing and ratifying international treaties accomplishes little without simultaneous substantive changes in national legal frameworks.  The 16 Days Campaign is part of the WomenAid strategy to support Government efforts to reform laws to ensure the rights of women are protected from violations; 

  • Media Advocacy

    The development of social communication to promote people’s rights and combat violence through its Media Advocacy Programme, by encouraging the media and press to promote national awareness of the critical issue of violence against women and ways to end violence against women; 

  • Public Awareness

    Increased awareness and knowledge of the general population as well as changing attitudes about violence against women. The campaign provides opportunities for the participation of all sectors of civil society, from individuals to institutions. 

Action in 2000
In 2000 WomenAid International introduced the 16 Days of Activism and the White Ribbon campaigns to the Caucasus and established the first '16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence' national co-ordination committee in the region. A broad range of activities and events were organised from the 25th November to the 10th December 2000 by committee member organisations. The outstanding success of the first Caucasus 16 Days Campaign was the signing by over 65 representatives from the Georgian government, UN agencies, international and local non-governmental organisations of a Georgian Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Action in 2001: CAUCASUS & CIS
Following the successful pilot activities undertaken in Georgia, WomenAid International initiated the creation of National Coordination Committees in Azerbaijan and Armenia. Support for the Caucasus 16 Days 2001 regional campaign was received from several international donors including the Open Society Institute Women's Programme.

WomenAid International - Caucasus acts as the focal point for the Caucasus 16 Days regional activities. For more information on partners, calendar of events, etc. please visit the Caucasus 16 Days web site.

Following requests for infomation, advice and help from many CIS NGOs, WomenAid International sponsored the CIS 16 Days web site. On this site you will find information about the 16 Days Campaign, useful links to UN, White Ribbon Campaign and other male initiatives to end violence against women, Russian translation of informative documents from the UN and other sources.


WomenAid International believes women everywhere

must support male initiatives to end violence against women.

The White Ribbon Campaign, a Unique Initiative of Canadian Men, is the largest effort, in the world, of men working to end men's violence against women. Started by Canadian men following a Montreal massacre of 14 women engineering students, Michael Kaufmann, campaign co-founder states, “If it were between countries, we’d call it a war.  If it were a disease, we’d call it an epidemic. If it were an oil spill, we’d call it a disaster.  But it’s happening to women, and it’s just an everyday affair.  It is violence against women.  It is sexual harassment at work and sexual abuse of the young. It is the beating or the blow that millions of women suffer each and every day.  It is rape at home and on dates.  It is  murder.”  Men around the world are urged to wear a white ribbon, or hang a white ribbon from their house, their vehicle, or at their workplace each year for a week, sometime between November 25 and December 6. 

The men participating in the White Ribbon Campaign take as their common goal the following three personal pledges:

  • Never to commit violence against women,

  • Never to condone violence against women, and

  • Never to remain silent about violence against women. 

The European Parliament has urged the male initiated White Ribbon Campaign be supported by men in all countries. WomenAid believes this important male initiative must be promoted and in 2000 introduced the Campaign into the Caucasus as part of the 16 Days Campaign and in 2001 persuaded many famous men to become Caucasus 16 Days White Ribbon Ambassadors thereby building even greater focus around this important male initiative.

CIS 16 Days

© Copyright WomenAid International 2001