Sixteen Days of Activism Opinion/ Commentary and “I” Stories

Date: November 16, 2011
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Once again, Gender Links will be offering an expanded menu of content from the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service during the upcoming 16 Days of Activism, available to media houses across Southern Africa.
* Interested editors should please contact The Editor on

We are currently seeking:

  • Commentary/ Opinion – 800-1000 word pieces offering fresh insights, perspectives, and opinions based on the 16 Days themes, outlined below.
  • “I” Stories – first hand accounts from survivors of gender violence from across Southern Africa. These stories share women and men’s real experiences with violence – domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, contracting HIV as a result of violence, being attacked because of sexual orientation, sexual harassment, and any other story that people wish to tell.
    NB: For South Africa, “I” stories are particularly sought from KZN and Western Cape.

Please send the editor your story idea as soon as possible, and we will discuss deadlines for submission of the article. The address to write to is Deadline for story ideas is November 21 2011.

2011 Campaign Themes
This year marks the 20th anniversary of 16 Days. Over the 20 years gender activists, civil society, governments, private sector institutions, faith based organisations (FBOs), communities and development partners have used the period to highlight gender violence and call for sustainable strategies to address gender violence. An important overarching question for all across the globe in 2011 is how much progress has been made in reducing the levels of gender violence in the last twenty years?

The global theme for 2011 Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence campaign is From peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women! Militarism is the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests.

Southern Africa will link with the global theme under the banner: From peace in the home to peace in the world; end gender violence by 2015!

Key themes for contributions….

  • International Human Rights Day: Gender and Climate Change – Running alongside the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), this year’s Sixteen Days will also highlight the impact of climate change on women’s security. How is climate change related to gender based violence? How is your community adapting to effects of climate change?
  • Making every voice count: In the 2010 Gender and Media Progress Study GL found that only 4% of the 30000 news items monitored in 14 countries over one month were on GBV; only 27% of sources in these stories were women. How can and is media being used to raise awareness and sensitise the general public to issues of GBV?
  • Taking stock – It is the 20th anniversary of 16 Days, where has there been progress and where is there still much to achieve? How far still to go in addressing gender violence, advocating for gender equality, and implementing important commitments like the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.
  • Reclaiming the night – It is woman’s human right to enjoy freedom of movement; threats to a women’s safety is a violation of her human rights. How can and are women reclaiming unsafe spaces; what more needs to be done especially at the local government level?
  • Making IT work for gender justice -How are social networking tools such as the internet, Facebook, Twitter and MixIt potential threats to women’s safety; how are such tools helping to fight for gender and gender justices?
  • Making care work count: Women comprise the majority of, mostly unpaid, carers of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA). What are their stories? What’s been done to assist and support care workers, and what more is needed?
  • Sexual harassment – At work, at school, on public transport, sexual harassment can affect freedom of movement, employment, education, and many aspects of life. How is sexual harassment impacting you and other people? Is enough being done in our schools, workplaces and societies?
  • Disability and GBV – Disability can be both a cause and consequence of GBV, how so? What are some of the insights and recommendations from people living with disabilities? Have
  • Culture, tradition, and religion – what role do religious institutions have to play in dealing with gender violence through their teachings and by providing services and support to GBV survivors?
  • Role of men and boys – men and boys are an important part of strategies to address GBV, are men being involved, and if so how? Who are some men and boys who are taking a stand?
  • Politically Motivated Violence – Exploring United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, its applicability to the southern African context where violence against women in ways similar to conflict situations is perpetuated during elections and other political events. Are there any stories of politically motivated violence occurring in your community? How are women affected? What can be done to ensure that women’s bodies for instance do not become spaces of waging war between political parties?

During the 16 Days key dates include:
– 25 November: International Day of No Violence Against Women
– 29 November: International Women Human Rights Defenders Day
– 1 December: World AIDS Day
– 3 December: International Day for the Disabled
– 6 December: Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre – where 14 female  engineering students were gunned down by a man because they were feminists
– 10 December International Human Rights Day

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