WHAT IS THE 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. 

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN 

Men’s violence against women is now widely recognised as a global problem and one of the most widespread violations of human rights.[i] Research indicates that since the age of fifteen, 1 in 5 Australian women have experienced sexual violence, 1 in 3 have experienced physical violence, and over half of all women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.[ii]

Violence against women affects all communities, however, other forms of inequality and discrimination such as racism, discrimination against people with disabilities, or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, increase the probability of violence for some groups of women. Efforts to prevent violence against women must consider these other intersecting forms of disadvantage in order to be effective.

The impact of violence on women’s health and wellbeing can result in short and long-term effects, including poor physical and mental health outcomes, social isolation and economic disadvantage.

While violence against women is prevalent and serious, it is also preventable. To stop it, we must address the underlying cause of violence against women – gender inequality. The key to ending violence against women is achieving gender equality.[iii]

WHAT IS GENDER EQUALITY?

“Gender equality is achieved when people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of whether they are a woman or a man”.[iv] Gender equality is the view that everyone should receive equal treatment and not be discriminated against based on their gender.

WHY IS GENDER EQUALITY SO IMPORTANT IN ORDER TO END VIOLENCE?

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 #GE4Us 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]

WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF GENDER INEQUALITY IN AUSTRALIA?

Gender inequality is happening in our everyday lives – from the home, to the workplace, from the media to community spaces- examples of inequality are happening all around us. 

The following are some examples of gender inequality.

  • Australian working women continue to earn less than men – the gender pay gap sees women in Australia paid 17.3% less than men. The average weekly earnings of women (adjusted for industry averages) working full time is $1,325.10 per week, $277.70 per week less than men.[xiv]
  • Women make up only 9% of all sports coverage in Australian TV news and current affairs – in comparison, horseracing sits at 10%.[xv]
  • Women are much more likely to have primary responsibility to care for children and more likely to do unpaid domestic work.
  • Women and girls are objectified and sexualised within our culture, which can have detrimental effects on their health and wellbeing.

References