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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Author: Olga Komarova | 26. November 2020

In 1999, the UN General Assembly declared November 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and invited governments, international, and non-governmental organisations to hold events on this day to raise public awareness of the issue. The date was chosen to commemorate the Mirabal sisters, political activists brutally murdered by the dictator Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic on the 25 November in 1960.

Gender-based violence is not limited to the time frame of history, culture, region, or country, nor is it limited to specific groups of women in society. To date, violence against women and girls remains one of the most widespread and persistent human rights violations, of which victims are ashamed to speak and which society prefers to keep quiet.

The United Nations Declaration of 1993 defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life“. The fundamental aim of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is to raise awareness about systematic violence around the world: rape, domestic violence, murder, slavery, maiming, child marriage, and abuse.

The media play a crucial role in combating gender-based violence: journalism has the potential to maximise the competent and responsible coverage of this issue, which will reduce the problem of silence on violence against women and girls. Women journalists themselves often face misogyny and violence, especially in the online environment, which as a platform for journalists to work is deteriorating every year.

Initiatives & Events

Several organisations, including GFMD’s members, partners, and friends drew attention to the problem of violence against women, raising awareness about gender-based violence around the world.

United Nations launches 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign

The annual international campaign conducted by the United Nations, supporting women and girl survivors of violence.

UNESCO and UN Women – Handbook to address violence against women in and through the media

Having noted that “violence against women remains one of the greatest human rights issues of our time”, UNESCO in conjunction with UN Women have published a guidebook for those working with and within media to end gender-based violence.

Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) – Guide: Resources for Women Journalists

The Global Investigative Journalism Network has compiled helpful links and resources for women journalists who have been abused in the workplace or have faced online harassment.

The Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ) – 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

For more than 2 weeks the Coalition for Women in Journalism are documenting cases of abuse, violence, and threats to female journalists and draw attention to the problem of harassment at work. Read their October report here.

RNW Media – Call to action to eliminate GBV

The #MyStoryForAStory campaign launched by RNW Media presents real examples of the challenges women face daily, and international initiative groups seeking to combat violence against women and girls.

Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) – Responsible Reporting on Domestic Violence

A recent EJN panel provides practical advice for journalists on their roles and responsibilities in covering cases of domestic violence, along with discussion of the impact of media on survivors, victims and their families.

For further information about these initiatives and more, visit the GFMD Twitter page. Further relevant resources can be found in our Journalist Safety and Gender and Diversity Resource Centres.


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