Zonta Club of Makati and Environs

16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM

WHAT IS THE 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE

The year was 1960 in the Dominican Republic, political activist siblings Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa Mirabal who actively opposed the cruelty and systematic violence of the Trujillo dictatorship were clubbed to death with their bodies dumped at the bottom of a cliff by the Trujillo police force. The Mirabal sisters became the symbol of feminist resistance and in commemoration of their death, November 25 was declared as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Latin America in 1980 and was later on recognized by United Nations in 1999. Violence against women continues to occur at an alarming scale in every country. This has prompted the Women’s Global Leadership Institute to initiate the global campaign, 16 Days of Activism in June 1991. The campaign runs annually from November 25 (International Violence-Against-Women Day) to December 10 (International Human Rights Day). This campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. Too often it is accepted as normal behavior and the global culture of discrimination against women allows violence to occur with impunity. In the Philippines alone, a 2017 survey by the National Statistics Office revealed that one in 20 Filipino women age 15-49 have experienced some form of physical violence. Take note that these only accounts for victims who have come forward to report the incident. Speaking out against women’s rights abuses is something that women’s rights organizations, like Zonta Club of Makati and Environs, do every day. From actively talking to government agencies in improving laws and services for women to working with communities in eradicating discriminatory attitudes and behaviors. ZCME has been using the 16 Days of Activism campaign since 2012 to respond to this social problem by creating public awareness about what needs to change to prevent gender-based violence from happening in the local, national, regional, and international levels. The 16 Days of Activism hopes to end violence against women by challenging the attitudes that perpetuate, rationalize, and normalize that violence, and denial of women’s right to safety. To see violence truly eliminated, the attitudes of men, who are mostly the perpetrators, need to change. Shifting these behaviors is difficult and can take a long time, but by championing gender equality means all of us, and working with all genders is the only way to see true change.

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