Today, Wednesday 25 November 2020 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and marks day one of the 16 Days of Activism.
Each year, from November 25 to December 10, World Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism campaign calls for action against one of the world’s most persistent violations of human rights – violence against women.
During the 16 Days of Activism, the Socialist Party unites with people around the world to raise awareness about gender-based violence, challenge discriminatory attitudes and struggle for improved laws and services to end violence against women for good.
This year the Socialist Party joins the world to campaign for improving of informal women workers – domestic workers, home-based workers, street vendors, agricultural workers, waste-pickers, and sex workers – whose lives and livelihoods have been acutely impacted by COVID-19 and the unprecedented economic crisis that has followed.
On November 25, 1960, sisters Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal, three political activists who actively opposed the cruelty and systematic violence of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, were clubbed to death and dumped at the bottom of a cliff by Trujillo’s secret police.
The Mirabal sisters became symbols of the feminist resistance, and in commemoration of their deaths November 25 was declared International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Latin America in 1980. This international day was formally recognize by the United Nations in 1999.
In June 1991, the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), alongside participants of the first Women’s Global Institute on Women, Violence and Human Rights, called for a global campaign of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
The 16 days begins with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ends with International Human Rights Day on December 10 – highlighting that violence against women is a fundamental violation of human rights.
Violence against women continues to occur at an alarming scale in Zambia and indeed in every country in the world. Too often it is accepted as normal behavior and the global culture of discrimination against women allows violence to occur with impunity.
Violence against women is a global problem and it requires global action.
To end violence against women, we need to challenge the attitudes that perpetuate, rationalize and normalize that violence, and deny women’s right to safety. Men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of gender-based violence. To see violence truly eliminated, the attitudes of men need to change.
Shifting these behaviors is hard and slow, but gender equality means all of us, and working with all genders is the only way to see true change.
Violence against women is not inevitable; it is preventable.
Issued by Fred M’membe on behalf of the Politburo of the Socialist Party
Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali