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Campaign logoUN Secretary-General's campaign:
United to end the violence against women
. Ban Ki-moon
"Break the silence. When you witness violence against women and girls, do not sit back. Act."
Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.

SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

Orange Day

China Orange Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2013

Orange Day, 25th September 2013
‘Safe Schools for Girls’

In July last year the Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign proclaimed every 25th of the month as Orange Day. Initiated and led by the UNiTE campaign Global Youth Network, worldwide activities implemented on this day by UN country offices and civil society organizations strive to highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.

Under the heading ‘Safe spaces for women and girls’, this year the UNiTE campaign is focusing its Orange Day activities on highlighting recommendations of the agreed conclusions of the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) which took place in March this year. In April, UNiTE focused on ‘Safe Work Places for Women and Girls’, in May, ‘Safe Homes for Women and Girls’ while in June, Orange Day coincided with the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26th) and the campaign focused on ‘State Custody and Care as Safe Spaces’ . In July it drew attention to ‘Cyber Space as Safe Space for Women and Girls’ while the theme for August was ‘Sexual Violence against Women and Girls in Conflict’. Ahead of the International Day of the Girl Child, October 11th, the theme for Orange Day in September is ‘Safe Schools for Girls’.

SAFE SCHOOLS FOR GIRLS

Education is a human right and a powerful tool of empowerment, and schools are important spaces in which to build respectful relationships between boys and girls. Education can arm students with the skills and knowledge to develop livelihoods and learn about their rights, and to break cycles of poverty.  However, girls all over the world face violence and intimidation in, around, and on their way to and from school.

Girls experience violence at the hands of fellow students, teachers, school administrators and others. They may face sexual harassment, bullying, cyber violence or may be asked for sexual favours in exchange for good grades or school fees. In some countries, the route to school may be unsafe. In others, girls are specifically targeted by violence simply for going to school to complete their education and for advocating for girls’ education, as was the case for education and women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot on her way home from school in Pakistan in 2012.

Many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of the right to education; they are more likely to have caring responsibilities within their families and when resources are short, the education of male siblings may be prioritized. The failure to ensure girls are able to access their right to education has profound effects on individuals as well as wider society. For girls, lack of education has lifelong consequences, such as increasing the likelihood they will enter into situations of economic dependence in which their vulnerability to violence may be increased. For society at large, the transformative potential of girls’ education is immense for the achievement of almost all development goals.

57th COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN

At the 57th Session on the Commission of the Status of Women, governments made specific commitments directed towards increasing girls’ access to education and improving the safety of girls at, and on the way to and from school:

“The Commission stresses that the right to education is a human right, and that eliminating illiteracy, ensuring equal access to education, in particular in rural and remote areas, and closing the gender gap at all levels of education empowers women and girls and thereby contributes to the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls”. 17, p3

Improve the safety of girls at and on the way to and from school, including by establishing a safe and violence free environment by improving infrastructure such as transportation, providing separate and adequate sanitation facilities, improved lighting, playgrounds and safe environments; adopting national policies to prohibit, prevent and address violence against children, especially girls, including sexual harassment and bullying and other forms of violence, through measures such as conducting violence prevention activities in schools and communities, and establishing and enforcing penalties for violence against girls”,  B(cc), p9

Develop policies and programmes, giving priority to formal and informal education programmes that support girls and enable them to acquire knowledge, develop self-esteem and take responsibility for their own lives, including access to a sustainable livelihood; and place special focus on programmes to educate women and men, especially parents and caregivers, on the importance of girls’ physical and mental health and well-being, including the elimination of child, early and forced marriage, violence against women and girls, female genital mutilation, child sexual exploitation, including commercial sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, rape, incest and abduction, and the elimination of discrimination against girls such as in food allocation”; B (tt), p12

 ORANGE DAY ACTIVITIES (25th September)

In support of the upcoming International Day of the Girl Child (11 October), this Orange Day, the UNiTE campaign will highlight ‘Safe Schools for Girls’.

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