In Focus: 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence


[banner] style=

The United Nations is marking the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence from 25 November to 10 December 2022, under the global theme set by the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign: “UNiTE! Activism To End Violence Against Women and Girls!”

Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) remains the most widespread and pervasive human rights violation worldwide affecting more than an estimated 1 in 3 women[1], a figure that has remained largely unchanged over the last decade[2]. The most recent global estimates showed that, on average, a woman or girl is killed by someone in her own family every 11 minutes[3].

Despite these worrying trends, there is more evidence than ever that VAWG is preventable. Evidence demonstrates that the presence of a strong and autonomous feminist movement is the single most critical factor to drive policy change in ending VAWG both in transnational contexts and in domestic policy-making[4], signalling the importance of investing in women’s movement building. Research has also shown that large-scale reductions in VAWG are possible through multi-sectoral coordinated actions of governments and civil society, and intensive advocacy efforts and media campaigns carried out by feminist organizations[5].

We need to do more. Supporting and investing in strong, autonomous women’s rights organizations and feminist movements is key to ending violence against women and girls. For these reasons, the UNiTE Campaign theme for 2022 will call for more support for activism to prevent VAWG.

Learn more and take action. Take a look at the activities occurring in Asia and the Pacific and see how you can get involved!

Since COVID-19 started:


45 per cent of women reported that they or a woman they know had experienced a form of VAWG.

7 in 10

7 in 10 women said that verbal or physical abuse by a partner has become more common.

6 in 10

6 in 10 felt that sexual harassment in public spaces has worsened.



Bandana Rana, Member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
Melissa Upreti, the UN Working Group on discrimination against women and girls
[All events


Top stories
Photo stories

EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN Journeys out of the Ordinary

With the exhibition “Extraordinary Women, Journeys out of the Ordinary”, the Spotlight Initiative, through the Safe and Fair Programme, would like to celebrate the strength of women migrant workers in ASEAN. Migration benefits individuals, families, communities and countries. Migration enables many women to escape poverty and violent households and experience empowerment as they live, and work in another country. Along with the many positive stories of migration, there are also many women still experiencing violence during the migration route. This exhibition is shining a spotlight on women who, despite experiencing violence, decided to become activists in their own communities and are now collaborating with grassroots organizations to support the new generation of women migrant workers so that their experience of migration can be SAFE and FAIR.

Video stories

Active bystander
How to refer women survivors of violence to services

Kaam Ki Baat

See our coverage of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence from previous years:
20212020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

[1] Across their lifetime, 1 in 3 women, around 736 million, are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner, non-partner or both (Violence against Women Prevalence Estimates), however, this figure would be even higher if it included the full continuum of violence that affects women and girls including sexual harassment, violence in digital contexts, harmful practices and sexual exploitation.

[2] WHO (2021) Violence against Women Prevalence Estimates

[3] UNODC (2021) Killings of women and girls by their intimate partner or other family members. Global estimates 2020

[4] Mama Cash (July 2020) Feminist Activism Works! A review of select literature on the impact of feminist activism in achieving women’s rights. AWID (November 2020) Moving More Money to the Drivers of Change: How Bilateral and Multilateral Funders Can Resource Feminist Movement. Htun, M & Weldon, S.L. (2012) The Civic Origins of Progressive Policy Change: Combating Violence against Women in Global Perspective, 1975–2005. American Political Science Review. Vol. 106, No. 3 August 2012

[5] Mary Ellsberg, Margarita Quintanilla & William J. Ugarte (2022) Pathways to change: Three decades of feminist research and activism to end violence against women in Nicaragua, Global Public Health, DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2022.2038652