A staggering one in three women experiences physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Violence against women and girls is, thus, one of the most pervasive human rights violations and perhaps the most obvious manifestation of the deeply rooted imbalances in power in our societies. In 2008, the United Nations (UN), under the leadership of Co-chair Ban Ki-moon as the 8th Secretary-General, pushed for a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the world. His leadership resulted in the founding of the UN’s Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women. Through the global Orange the World Campaign UN Women raises awareness for the urgent need to eliminate violence against women and girls. The Orange the World campaign is held annually during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence from the 25th of November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women to the 10th of December, International Human Rights Day. During these 16 Days, the worlds’ most famous buildings and monuments are illuminated in orange, while events and activities raise awareness for the cause. Every year, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens contributes to the Orange the World Campaign globally and within Austria, working together with its partner organizations Soroptimist International, UN Women, and HeForShe and their local Austrian chapters.

What has happened?

Social Media Campaign on Anti-femicide Movements 2021

In support of the 2021 Orange the World Campaign, we launched a video trilogy spotlighting anti-femicide movements from different parts of the world, collaborating with three inspiring activists, who all have made their mark by tackling femicide across the world:

  • #ShutItAllDown – Bertha Tobias, Namibia
  • #NiUnaMenos – Liliana Oropeza, Bolivia
  • #Challenge Accepted – Zeycan Rochelle Yildirim, Turkey
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The Shadow Pandemic Action Brief 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is accompanied by a multitude of challenges in the global fight against Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). On November 26th the BKMC organized a virtual High-Level Roundtable to address this Shadow Pandemic from the perspective of a variety of different stakeholders, who share a common responsibility to end Violence Against Women. Based on the High-Level Roundtable, the present Action Brief compiles facts and statistics, as well as key findings and recommendations on the Shadow Pandemic during COVID-19.

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Virtual High-Level Roundtable 2020

At a virtual high-level roundtable on November 26th titled “Tackling the Shadow Pandemic – Violence Against Women During COVID-19 Times”, a panel of stellar speakers discussed what steps can be taken to address the spike in violence against women during COVID-19. On December 1st, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Ban Ki-moon Centre hosted a Virtual Expo called “Education, Empowerment, and Effective Policies: Innovative Initiatives Preventing Gender-Based Violence”. Read about the event

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Monuments and buildings in orange

During the 16 days of activism, the world lights up in orange, symbolizing the fact that, according to UN Women, 1 in 3 women worldwide, have suffered from gender-based violence during their lifetime. In 2019 the Ban Ki-moon Centre with its partners managed to gain the support of over 130 buildings and monuments in every corner of Austria, to shine bright in orange and thereby make a statement for the urgency to end violence against women.

Opening the 16 days of activism at the BKMC

It has become a tradition that on 25 November, the campaign is launched with a reception at the Vienna office of the Ban Ki-moon Centre. The reception brings together activists, advocates and professionals who dedicate their efforts to the topic of violence against women and offers a space to connect, share experience, and join efforts to promote the cause.

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Spokespersons and ambassadors

Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer have lent their strong voices to the campaign by spreading the message that action must be taken to end violence against women immediately. The award-winning actress Ursula Strauss has pledged to be the campaign’s ambassador and features in numerous campaign events.

Sharing facts and spreading news

In cooperation with the partner organizations the BKMC engages in public outreach with local and international press agencies to equip them with relevant facts and figures on the topic. In 2018, the campaign thereby recorded a significant increase in news stories and newspaper articles on the topic of violence against women. In 2019 the BKMC hosted a press conference that led to numerous press, TV, and radio features, shedding light on the campaign.

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Evolving beyond trauma

In 2019 the BKMC backed the large-scale event “Evolving Beyond Trauma” that saw an eye-opening panel discussion on the topic of overcoming the trauma that results from gender-based violence. The event was opened with remarks by Co-chair Heinz Fischer and the well-known actress and author Erika Pluhar.

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Our partners

UN Women Austria advocates for a more just world for women and supports the goals of the United Nations.

With their campaigns such as “Orange the World – Stop Violence against Women,” they create broad awareness on discriminatory laws and conventions, strengthen women in business and leadership positions, and provide concrete information about the diverse tasks and successes of UN Women.

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Soroptimist International is a dynamic organization for today’s working women. Through awareness, advocacy, action, they create opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of women and girls through our global network.

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HeForShe is an international solidarity movement launched by UN Women, calling on everyone, but especially men, to actively campaign for gender equality. The aim is to make it clear that equality is something that concerns us all.

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