16 Days Activism

#16DaysOfActivism: Message from Mira Rizeq, President of World YWCA

Dear women, young women, girls, allies and partners of YWCA all around the world, 

It is my pleasure to welcome you to 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence 2020 campaign. Our theme for this year, Young Women Lead: Diverse Voices for Action and Accountability. Resonates deeply with our work within the YWCA movement which strives to give women, young women and girls the platform and the tools to express themselves in the most authentic way possible and be part of a movement that upholds diversity.

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to roll back gains we have made over the years towards elimination of violence against women and girls. However, women, young women and girls are not just uniquely vulnerable to many of the dynamics of this crisis but are also the leaders and problem-solvers that our communities depend on as frontline responders, healthcare workers, community organizers and volunteers. The solidarity, zeal and sisterhood that I have witnessed over the last couple of months is the only validation that we should continue with this fight at all levels. 

Over the next 16 Days let us exchange ideas, experiences and perspectives on what a World Without Violence looks like, hold our governments accountable and demand for better implementation of policies that protect women, young women and girls. 

It has taken a global pandemic for our governments to acknowledge that violence against women and girls is a pandemic, we have also witnessed governments acting in panic mode not knowing what to do with this situation. I therefore urge you to petition your respective governments to significantly allocate budget for shelters and places of safety that respond to the different circumstances of different women, young women and girls, put pressure on the judicial system to clear the backlogs of gender based violence cases which has denied a majority of women and girls the justice they deserve and most importantly we demand that our governments prioritize women participation in the decision making process during and post COVID-19 pandemic.   

True to our theme the activities will be led by young women who will leverage on technology to engage with other young women leaders across the world through virtual panel exchange, which will encompass intergeneration discussion on Beijing +25 and share next expectations from three perspective of time and age.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most important issues of our time, and any time. Let us take time to put into perspective what we must all collectively do to create a world without violence, what it means to our advocacy and movement building strategies, most importantly how it must sustain and evolve into the future.

I officially launch the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence on behalf of all YWCAs.  Thank you. 

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