16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign calling for an end to violence against women and girls. It takes place every year and begins on the 25th November, the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women and finishes on Human Rights Day, the 10th of December.
Each year, WAGGGS and the Stop the Violence campaign invites the Movement to join an awareness-raising campaign on a certain thematic area. This year we are building on our work and programmes to #StopTheViolencePeriod.
Whilst a biological and natural, cleansing part of life for girls, the start of menstruation can also mark the beginning and increased risk to violence, with menstruation being the trigger, factor and/or cause.
Many stereotypes and myths exist around menstruation, and they can keep harmful beliefs alive, which can lead to ongoing stigma and violence.
Period violence is experienced in many forms and can be understood to include period poverty, bullying, stigmatisation, period exile, verbal, physical and/or sexual abuse and early child marriage, all triggered and connected to the start of and ongoing menstruation. There is #NoExcuse as to why this exists, nor why it should continue, and we come together to take action in advocacy, education and exploring better period health together.
We know that globally, menstruation is a term and experience met with many mixed emotions, confusion, fear and shame, followed by the increased risk of violence, which can be both self-guided or the result of society, community and perpetrator behaviours. We will shine a light on this experience and know we can be part of change and use our voices to stop period violence.
We encourage, support and are committed to including all girls, within and beyond the Movement, to dismantle the myths and smash some of the stigmas.
How can YOU take and inspire action?
Join us in one of the three ways below and get involved in our 16 Days of Activism campaign, #StopTheViolencePeriod
- Advocate for change: Help us to raise awareness and create change in our world against period violence, malpractices and inequality. We're sharing some ideas and resources below to get you started.
- Be social: Share, tag, and comment on WAGGGS channels. Here, together, we will be slaying period myths, reducing stigma and learning about all forms of period violence.
- Get Vocal: Take Part in our survey - My Period. My World.
Remember to use the hashtag #StopTheViolencePeriod in your posts to connect as a movement for change and learn from each other.
Tell us about what it's like to be a girl and woman today; share your experience of menstruation and the impact of your environment, peers and society. Girl Guides and Girl Scouts will take your voices and responses and share these with world leaders at the United Nations' sixty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2024.
Your Advocacy activities, Resources and Reading materials
THE COMMUNICATIONS ASSETS
We have prepared sample social media graphics and design assets to help support your orgnaisation to take part: From ‘oranging’ your digital spaces raising awareness, to myth busting and taking part in the survey; sharing content, inspiring action to imagining a world free of gender based violence. Period.
SLAYING MYTHS & REDUCING STIGMA
- ACTIVITY: Slaying period myths. In your unit/pack/region, discuss what period myths exist in your community and others you've heard about. What myths have impacted you the most? Research and learn about myths from other regions.
- ACTIVITY: Reduce stigma by raising awareness of all the code words you know and use to refer to periods. How do they make you feel? And do you prefer using some to others? We can tackle the harms of secrecy and bullying by highlighting all these names and having a conversation. Share these with us too online. Which ones have you heard of, and which are you most surprised by?
- PARTNER ACTIVITY PACK - ROSIE'S WORLD: Use our partner, WASH United's, menstrual health activity pack, Rosie's World. The focus is on menstrual hygiene management, originally developed for the Arab region, and we have used some of these activities for training Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in the Africa region. Watch here to see our video.Find out more about Rosie's World and view the pack here.
"Period poverty describes the struggle many low-income women and girls face while trying to afford menstrual products. The term also refers to the increased economic vulnerability women and girls face due to the financial burden posed by menstrual supplies. These include not only menstrual pads and tampons, but also related costs such as pain medication and underwear." (UNFPA)
Many governments around the world impose a value-added tax (VAT) on sanitary products such as tampons, panty liners, pads, and menstrual cups.
Kenya was the first country worldwide to scrap VAT on sanitary products in 2004. Since then, some governments have followed suit and scrapped VAT on these products, while others have reduced it. Scotland became the first country in the world to provide free sanitary products by law to anyone who needs them.
- ACTIVITY: Research and find out if there is a tax on sanitary products in your country, and if so, how much it adds to the cost of these products.
- READ: ActionAid’s 2023 report on the cost of living increase and its impact on period poverty, noting there have been 1 million additional women experiencing period poverty in the UK in one year. How does this affect your region and country? Are there similarities?
- ADVOCATE: Join an existing campaign in your country to end tampon tax. We’re listing a couple below from our regions to get you started:
- COMPLETE: Earn the badge by completing the activities from Girlguiding UK on Period Poverty, or create your own badge and pledge. Link here.
- CREATE: Create a petition online or gather signatures and deliver them to your relevant government Ministry.
According to Water Aid, 1.25 billion women and girls worldwide lack safe and adequate sanitation; of those, 526 million don't have a toilet. Not having safe sanitation leaves women and girls more vulnerable to violence and harassment.
According to the World Bank, as many as 500 million people across the globe lack access to basic menstrual products and hygienic bathroom facilities for use during their menstrual cycles.
Along with removing the burden of costs, it's also necessary to provide education to girls and boys about menstruation and hygiene, including recognition of additional gynaecological problems such as endometriosis, poly-cystic ovaries and other period-related health concerns, and address the stigma around periods.
- ACTIVITY: Understanding the reality of sanitation worldwide, imagine your ideal sanitation and bathroom space. Describe what this would look like, what it would include and why it's important to you. Discuss this with your group.
- ACTIVITY: Help raise awareness about period health by pledging to talk with three friends about period health.
Please seek consent before sharing images with us. By sharing photos with us, you consent for these images to be shared externally, on social media and our website. Make sure girls are not taking pictures of each other and sharing them on social media or other channels without permission.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with the Stop the Violence team at the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts via email: email@example.com
WAGGGS SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
Previous WAGGGS Campaigns
- 2022: #SheSurfsFreedom calling on digital spaces that are safe, healthy, regulated and free from violence for girls and women. Collaborating with Malala Fund to campaign and also hosted an online webinar on digital safety.
- 2021: #HerStoryIsOurStory we created Brave Spaces for girls around the world to share their voice and stories on the experience, prevalence and thoughts of gender-based violence
- 2020: #notHERfault we stood against victim blaming, the shaming of girls and women who have been made to feel like they are responsible for the violence inflicted on them.
- 2019: #OurStreetsToo #ImHereForHer we stood in solidarity with girls and women who experience harassment in the streets
- 2018: #OurStreetsToo we called on governments around the world to stop street harassment
- 2017: #GirlsAreUnsafe identified where girls felt the most unsafe by asking them to draw these places.
- 2016: #16 Ways in #16Days shared stories and small personal steps everyone can take.
- 2015: For Girls are valuable we asked girls to make noise about how girls aren’t valued.
- 2014: For 16 Days. 16 Voices. we delivered a Stop the Violence Facilitators Training.
- 2013: Bust the Myths: 16 Myths for 16 Days, showcased a harmful belief or myth on along with the reality.
- 2012: From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Creating Safe Spaces asked groups to identify a space to make free from violence.
Previous 16 Days resources are available here.