Orange the world campaign- An UNESCO initiative to end gender violence

Dr. Arpita Das
Department of political science
Pragjyotish College, Guwahati
 Contact- 9864032648

                It was on 26th November 1960, when a brutal incident occurred when sent shock waves across the world-the Mirabal sisters were assassinated, reason was that they were raising their voice for their rights against the Dominican dictator Rafael Triyillo(1930-1961).This is only one such instance ,but there are uncountable instances of violence against women, where every time women are victims of violence. Violence against women is a universal phenomenon which affects all sections of women irrespective of age, background, educational qualification, status etc. Gendered based violence is one of the most widespread and starkingly visible threat, faced by the world, which hinders the mission of establishing an equal society across the globe. Keeping in view this challenge, the United Nations has initiated numerous programmes to focus attention on this issue so as to achieve gender equality in line with the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. In line with the agenda for sustainable development the initiatives will try to integrate the principle of leaving no one behind. Related to gender equality the UNESCO, which is a specialized agency of the UN set up with a mission to contribute to the building of a culture of peace, eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue, through education , communication and dissemination of information has adopted a roadmap for preventing and addressing issues related to gender based violence. One such initiative is ORANGE THE WORLD CAMPAIGN.

“Orange the world campaign” is a global campaign to raise awareness upon the issue of gendered based violence against women. The movement has been spearheaded globally by the United Nations. The campaign is a 16 day long programme” which is observed globally for 16 days  to raise and prevent  gender based violence against women. This campaign owes its origin from the First women global leadership institute in 1991.The campaign generally begin from November 25th –The International Day Against Violence Against Women-till 10 December which is International Human Rights Day. The dated for the campaign were fixed in such a way so as to establish a connection between violence against women and human rights with a purpose to show to the world that violence against women is an indicator of violation of human rights. This global 16 days programme in an organizing strategy for individuals and groups across the world to call for elimination of all forms of gender based violence against women ranging from raising awareness about the issue right from the grass root level up to the global level, strengthening local work around gender based violence against women, providing a platform in the form of creating a forum for developing as well as sharing newer and effective strategies, creating pressure tools upon the government to implement commitments to eliminate gendered based violence against women and most importantly to demonstrate the solidarity of women around the world in resisting and fighting gender based atrocities against women. The term ORANGE stands for the color orange which symbolizes brighter future -free from violence against women and girls.

Mention may be made to the fact that till date over 6000 organizations in approximately 187 countries has been a part of this campaign, since 1991, with a reach of 200 million people. The campaign is based on the following principles-viz

Principle of honoring and acknowledging women’s movements across the globe

Principle of leaving no one behind

Survivor centric approach based on the principle of adopting a no harm approach to the survivors who intends to narrate their bitter experiences 

Principle of creating as well as strengthening equitable gender norms and dynamics for fundamental and lasting changes for women and girls.

In support of this initiative under the leadership of UN Secretary general Antonio Guterres, a campaign was launched in 2008 by the name UNiTE by 2030 to end violence against women-a multiyear effort aimed at preventing as well as eliminating violence against women and girls. This campaign calls for global action to increase, create opportunities for discussions about challenges and solutions. Every year the 16 days activism introduces a theme related to violence against women. The first campaign theme launched in 1991 was “ Violence against women violates Human Rights.”In 2021 the theme was orange the world: end violence against women now” . This campaign believed that it is only when we are together then only we can change the world and create a violence free world where women can feel the freedom and lead a free and fearless life with all dignity and integrity. While pervasive, gender-based violence is not inevitable; it can and must be prevented. Stopping this violence starts with believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transform harmful social norms, and empowers women and girls. With survivor-centered essential services across policing, justice, health, and social sectors, and sufficient financing for the women’s rights agenda, we can end gender-based violence. The theme for the year 2022 was –“Lets end femicide”. The United Nations in the year 2021 reported that 45000 women were the victims of femicide- an act where women and girls are killed because of their gender, either by their husband, partner or any other family members. So with a view to raise concerns and awareness across the globe so as to put an end to such kind of ill practices this theme was undertaken. The intention was also to engage male members of the society to resist such acts and raise awareness and consciousness in the world to stop such practices. It also appealed the male members to initiate small attitudinal changes towards their outlook for women in their own like, family as well as home. Bafana Khumalo, co- chair of the MenEngage Alliance, said : narratives of gender based violence and femicide often stop at framing this violence as a women’s issue. I is important to recognize victims and to prioritize and empower survivors…………… is men’s violence that we need to address, and the underlying causes based on male power and inequitable gender relations at all levels of society. 

That “You are not alone and together we can end gender based violence” is what this campaign symbolizes.  Thus this campaign is a symbol of a brighter future, free from violence against women and girls.


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