In Focus: 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence

Orange the world: Fund, respond, prevent, collect

Top stories |Facts and figures |Photos |Campaign |Take action |FAQ

The UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign is marking the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence (25 November to 10 December 2020) under the global theme, Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!". UN Women’s Generation Equality campaign is amplifying the call for global action to bridge funding gaps, ensure essential services for survivors of violence during the COVID-19 crisis, focus on prevention, and collection of data that can improve life-saving services for women and girls.

This year is like no other. Even before COVID-19 hit, violence against women and girls had reached pandemic proportions. Globally, 243 million women and girls were abused by an intimate partner in the past year. Meanwhile, less than 40 per cent of women who experience violence report it or seek help.

As countries implemented lockdown measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, violence against women, especially domestic violence, intensified – in some countries, calls to helplines have increased five-fold. In others, formal reports of domestic violence have decreased as survivors find it harder to seek help and access support through the regular channels. School closures and economic strains left women and girls poorer, out of school and out of jobs, and more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, forced marriage, and harassment.

In April 2020, as the pandemic spread across the world, the UN Secretary-General called for “peace at home”, and 146 Member States responded with their strong statement of commitment. In recent months 135 countries have strengthened actions and resources to address violence against women as part of the response to COVID-19. Yet, much more is needed. 

Today, although the voices of activists and survivors have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced or ignored, ending violence against women will require more investment, leadership and action. It cannot be sidelined; it must be part of every country’s national response, especially during the unfolding COVID-19 crisis.

For the 16 Days of Activism, UN Women handed over the mic to survivors, activists and UN partners on the ground, to tell the story of what happened after COVID-19 hit. Read and share stories, get inspired by activists who are making a difference every single day, and find out how you can take action.

Top stories

Facts and figures

To better understand the implications of COVID-19 on women and girls, UN Women Regional conducted a web-survey in Arab States countries focused on gender roles, attitudes and practices related gender equality and violence against women. Read the study.
Through a regional assessment, UN Women has reached out to 220 civil society organizations (CSOs) from 15 countries in the Arab States region to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their work, the challenges they are facing and the solutions they are creating. Read more.

Photos: Best of the 16 Days of Activism

#OrangeTheWorld Arab States 2020

Ad campaign: A spotlight on legal gaps to end violence against women


Laws and their effective implementation are a critical foundation in the prevention of violence against women and girls and responding to this grave human rights violation. This ad campaign casts a spotlight on the legal gaps that must close — which since the onset of the pandemic has become as urgent as ever. Learn more ►

Take action

Small actions can make big impacts to end violence against women. Everyone has a role to play. What role will you play?

Illustration - women take action
10 ways you can help end violence against women, even during a pandemic
Ending violence against women is everyone’s business. Learn the ways you can make a difference, safely and impactfully.
Learn and share: A glossary of terms to know
A glossary outlining the many forms of violence against women and girls, along with other commonly used terms.

Frequently asked questions: The signs of relationship abuse and how to help 


Violence against women is a human rights violation that takes place every single day around the world. Globally, one in three women experiences physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. While domestic violence and abuse are sometimes hidden, if we know the signs of an abusive relationship, we may be able to recognize it better and seek or offer help. Read more.

Orange the World on Social media

Show your solidarity with survivors of gender-based violence and where you stand in the fight for women’s rights by oranging your social media profile for the 16 Days of Activism – you can download banners for Facebook and Twitter here.

On Instagram, you can use UN Women’s face filter to show how you are taking action to end gender-based violence and tag a friend to encourage your community to do the same.

Use #orangetheworld, #16Days and #GenerationEquality to start your own conversation about gender-based violence, or share some of the content from our social media package with visuals in Arabic, English and French available here.

To kick-start your activism, click on one of the animations below and tweet it out!

See our coverage of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence from previous years: 2019, 2018