Gender Links & the Sixteen Days of Activism 2006

Gender Links & the Sixteen Days of Activism 2006

Date: August 10, 2009
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What is the Sixteen Days?
The Sixteen Days of Activism is the period from 25 November (International Day of No Violence Against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day) each year.   Other key dates include:
  • 1 December: World Aids Day;
  • 3 December: International Day for the Disabled;
  • 6 December: Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, when a man gunned down 14 women engineering students for allegedly being feminist;
2006 marks the sixteenth year of the Sixteen Day campaign. Around the globe activists will be highlighting the fact that women’s rights continue to be flagrantly violated despite the recognition in every law and convention that women’s rights are human rights.
How has GL been involved in the past?
Since its inception in 2001, Gender Links has played an active role in this campaign through training of the media in covering gender violence and building the capacity of NGOs and CBOs to run strategic campaigns. Under the banner “imagine a world free of violence and HIV/AIDSÀ these campaigns have placed a strong emphasis on the intersection between gender violence and HIV/AIDS. The Pep Talk campaign included activist research on the availability of PEP in health facilities and a campaign to ensure that every woman has access to Post Exposure Prophylaxis in the event of a sexual assault.
Since 2004, GL has spearheaded training in the use of new information and communication technologies for gender justice campaigns and facilitated online chats, or cyber dialogues that link women all over Southern Africa to experts and decision-makers.   Under the banner, “Making IT work for Gender JusticeÀ GL has hosted numerous debates, run opinion polls and e-bulletin services on ending gender violence. GL also pioneered the “IÀ stories – first hand accounts of gender violence that have been carried as part of the GL Opinion and Commentary Service, which also carries in-depth analytical pieces during the Sixteen Day campaigns.
In 2005, GL conducted an audit of commitments made during these dialogues in South Africa and identified actions that still needed to be taken. The audit led to growing support for a National Action Plan to End Gender Violence. In May 2006, GL, the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) and UN Agencies convened a ground breaking conference: 365 Days of Action to End Gender Violence that led to the identification of key priorities for ending gender violence   and the establishment of a multi-sector task team to work towards this end.
GL, in partnership with the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network has since conducted National Action Planning workshops in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mauritius.
Objectives for 2006
Key objectives this year are to:
  • Ensure maximum coverage of the campaign through engaging with the media in the run up to and throughout the campaign
  • Raise awareness of women’s rights as human rights through the “Take Back the nightÀ campaign.
  • Continue “Making IT work for gender justiceÀ through hosting the cyber dialogues.
  • Profile the 365 day initiatives within the Sixteen Day campaign as a way of ensuring that this becomes a year-long campaign.
  • Start the process of localizing National Action Plans to end gender violence and raises awareness on the role of local government in ending gender violence.
  • Use the Sixteen Days as a period to take stock, account, reflect, plan and re-energise gender justice initiatives.
What will GL do in 2006?
Key activities this year include:
Media debate: Media part of the problem or of the solution? On 15 November, GL will participate in the media debate being organised by the South African Gender and Media (SAGEM) Network in South Africa and GEMSA regionally. The GL website will be used for holding a dialogue among media practitioners across the region on how they see their role in the Sixteen Day campaign.
Taking stock and regional video link: As a member of the coordination committee of the South African National Action Plan Task team, GL will coordinate a high level panel, on 23 November, to take stock of progress since the 2005 campaign. This will be followed up by as video link up between the four countries (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and Namibia) that have extended the sixteen day campaign to 365.
Localising national action plans: On the 30th of November, GL will partner with SALGA Gauteng on a workshop to extend the 365 days initiative to local government.
Take back the night march: GL, in partnership with GEMSA, will spearhead the Take Back the Night campaign in Southern Africa on 25 November, 2006.   In this campaign, started in the USA, women march down a dangerous street wearing white T shirts and carrying candles to make the point that women should be free, like any other citizen, to enjoy the night.
Cyber dialogues: GL will host general interest cyber dialogues on five days of the campaign. These are: 15 November (Media debate); 24November (legislation: Do laws make a difference), 30 November (Gender violence and local government); 1 December (World Aids Day); 6 December (The role of men).
Gender violence in schools: Working with partner agencies that plan to host a regional girl child summit in December, GL will run a special series of cyber dialogues from  4-8 December on gender violence in schools.   In South Africa these dialogues follow hearings by the Human Rights Commission on gender violence in schools.
I Stories, Opinion and Commentary Service: Building on past successes, GL will put out a call for first hand accounts of surviving gender violence and disseminate these both in written and audio formats. In partnership with Kaya FM in South Africa a call will be put out through radio for such stories and carried in various formats by the radio station during the Sixteen Day campaign.

Gender Justice Barometer: During the months of November and December GL will distribute five issues of the monthly e-news Gender Justice Barometer.


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