Since 1991 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women has tried to raise awareness not just about the endemic violence that millions of women around the world suffer from but about issues which run parallel and are intertwined with the aims of the movement.
For the past twenty-five years, the 16 Days Campaign has been dedicated to advocacy and coordination of work in support of ending gender-based violence at the local, national, and international levels. The dates, November 25th (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and December 10th (Human Rights Day), were chosen to emphasize the links between ending gender-based violence and human rights principles and highlight that gender-based violence is an international human rights violation. The 16 Days Campaign is used as an organizing strategy to call for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence by individuals, groups, and institutions throughout the world
“From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All!”
This year, the 16 Days Campaign will focus specifically on the relationship between militarism and the right to education in situations of violent conflict.
The right to education is subject to political, economic, and social shifts and upheavals, leaving certain groups (especially women, girls, people with disabilities, LGBTQI people, migrants, and indigenous people) particularly vulnerable and liable to being denied this crucial right. The most recent estimates showing that 31 million girls at primary level and 34 million at lower secondary level are not enrolled in school and 15 million girls and 10 million boys will never see the inside of a classroom. As many as 58 million children of primary school age do not have access to education, with approximately half of these (28.5 million) living in conflict affected areas.
The right to education is too often affected by weak infrastructure, including: unsafe and unsanitary educational environments, inadequate curricula that are not gender-sensitive and continue to be framed within stereotypical patriarchal notions of gender; limited resource provision for the delivery of, or access to education.
We can never forget just how lucky we are that we live in Britain where the right to an education is enshrined in law and provided by the state. Yet gender discrimination, violence and bias exists within our education system as well. Barriers block and impede British women’s chances of succeeding in education and their careers throughout their lives. From discrimination and harassment in their work lives to the damage that “lad” and “campus” culture is doing at our colleges and University where a quarter of students have experienced unwelcome sexual advances.
Education is a universal right and more than that people should be able to access education without fear of harassment and the threat of violence. There is a tendency to believe that this is a problem confined to the developing world but we cannot be complacent in Britain. Throughout the 16 Day campaign I will aim to highlight the plight of women wherever they are in the world and show that education is an essential human right whoever you are.