16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence


 The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (16 Days) is a global campaign to raise awareness about violence against women and its impact on a woman’s physical, psychological, social and spiritual well-being. The 16 Days begin on 25th November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and end on December 10th, International Human Rights Day. These dates were chosen to highlight that violence against women is a human rights abuse. (Click here to read more about the significant events during the 16 Days). 

During the 16 Days people from around the world use the campaign to raise awareness about the prevalence and devastating impact of violence against women, to celebrate victories gained, to challenge the structures that enable and support violence against women to occur at such an alarming rate, and to demand that violence against women be recognised as an abuse of human rights.

Click here to read more about the origins of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign. 


Intimate partner violence is the leading cause of death, disability and illness in Australian women aged 18-44 years. Violence against women has profound, wide ranging, long term impacts on the health and wellbeing of women and children, families and communities. Three in ten Australian women report having experienced physical violence at least once in their lives, and two in ten women report having experienced sexual violence at least once in their lives. Almost one woman each week is killed by a current or former partner. In 2015-16 Victoria Police attended almost 24 family violence incidents each day in the Eastern Metropolitan Region .

Women’s Health East work towards ending violence against women in the Eastern Metropolitan Region by addressing the underlying determinants of violence against women, which are centred around power and gender inequality. We do this through working in partnership with other organisations in a coordinated approach, through advocacy and research, and by implementing primary prevention programs. Take a look at Together for Equality & Respect, the Speaking Out program and LGBTI Family Violence Prevention Project; three examples of how Women’s Health East is working towards preventing violence against women in Melbourne’s East.

For more information on this priority area check out our Resources and see the topic Violence Against Women.


Inequality between men and women can take many forms. Inequality in power, resources, and entitlements, as well as historical norms and values around the roles of women in society, negatively impact the health of girls and women. The ways in which organisations are structured and programmes are run can similarly have a negative impact on the health of girls and women. Inequality between women and men can also affect women’s capacity to access resources such as income, education and employment, which themselves promote health.

To address these inequalities, Women’s Health East advocate for a gender equity approach to health. This approach acknowledges that men and women do not function on a level playing field and, as a result, the health of women is impacted. To account for this, different strategies and measures must be implemented for men and women in order to create fair outcomes. For example, increasing the representation of women in organisational leadership roles and positions of power can help to shift cultural norms around gender roles, and gives women the opportunity to have input into decision making that affects their 
lives and the lives of other women in their community.


There is a strong link between violence against women and the ingrained inequalities between men and women.[v] Research has shown a strong association between sexist attitudes, the unequal status of women in society and the perpetration of violence against women, which is why the message of gender equality in the 16 Days campaign is so important.

Gender inequality can also lead to depression and anxiety,[vi] low self-esteem and body image issues,[vii],[viii] financial exclusion, poor health literacy[ix] and poverty, which in turn can lead to a higher exposure to risk factors for poor health and higher prevalence of chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, liver disease, respiratory disease and Type 2 Diabetes.[x],[xi],[xii],[xiii