Rise up against misogyny, sexism, hate and violence | The Ontario Federation of Labour

Rise up against misogyny, sexism, hate and violence

Take part in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (November 25-December 10)

November 25 marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign to raise awareness and generate action to end violence against women, girls, transfeminine folx and 2-Spirit people in communities across Canada and around the world.

Violence against women, girls, transfeminine folx and 2-Spirit people remains the most widespread human rights violation around the globe. Women, girls, transfeminine folx and 2-Spirit people face violence, harassment, and discrimination on a daily basis.

Already heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the frequency of gender-based violence is further increased by the intersecting crises of climate change, global conflict, economic instability, the rise of Anti-feminist movements and other humanitarian crises.

That’s why it is important to join the global conversation and get involved with the #16Days movement to create a culture of consent, respect and equity for all women, girls, transfeminine folx and 2-Spirit people.

Here are some ways to take simple actions each day during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence from November 25 to December 10:

1. Connect with the UN Commission on the Status of Women 2023 theme of ‘Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.’ You can use social media do this in a few ways:

  • Promote the online world as a space for education, entertainment, inspiration, discovery, creativity, connection and friendship for women, girls, transfeminine folx and 2-Spirit people.
  • Use your voice on social media to bring awareness to gender-based violence.
  • Use hashtags such as #16Days and #WomensRightsAreHumanRights.
  • Be an advocate on social media by following and sharing content created by advocates and activists against gender-based violence.
  • Turn your socials orange, the official color of the United Nations’ campaign against GBV. Post a photo of yourself wearing orange, add an orange filter to your profile, share orange GBV content from the UN, etc.
  • Change your profile picture or cover photo on social media to show your support for ending violence against women, girls, transfeminine folx and 2-Spirit people.

2. Start important conversations with your loved ones, advocate on social media for women, girls, transfeminine folx and 2-Spirit peoples’ right to their own bodies, support women/trans/2-Spirit owned businesses in your community, sign petitions to support bodily autonomy, and more.

3. Tell someone about it. Though 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, many are silent. Talk about abuse with friends, family and coworkers. Break the silence, show your support and build a community that is ready to end gender-based violence. Share why ending gender-based violence is important to you.

4. Educate yourself on gender-based violence. Learn more about GBV and understand why it’s perpetuated and why it continues to be such a widespread global issue. There are many resources available, including articles, books, podcasts, movies, etc. Share what you learn with others, both online and through conversations with your friends, family, community members and co-workers.

5. Become an ally. The roots of gender-based violence are all around us – in sexist jokes that demean women, media messages, toxic masculinity and rigid gender norms. Learn how you can take immediate action to prevent GBV and join the online conversation.

6. Spread the Word. Share ways we can help stop gender-based violence, including teaching young children about consent and helping enlist men in the movement. We can all work to create societies where someone who has experienced gender-based violence feels empowered to come forward, knowing they will be believed, protected, and not blamed.

7. Listen and believe women, girls, transfeminine folx and 2-Spirit people around you.  Many can’t come forward with their experiences of violence because of the shame and stigma around it. Listening to them and believing them is a big step forward towards changing attitudes towards gender-based violence and for healing. 

8. Acknowledge / Celebrate a hero fighting to end gender-based violence. Celebrate someone working to end gender-based violence and moving the world toward gender equity.

9. Help increase the ability for women, girls, transfeminine folx and 2-Spirit people to engage in decision-making processes affecting their lives and their communities. Do this by promoting the leadership and participation of women, girls, transfeminine folx and 2-Spirit people in political, policy making, and decision-making spaces, make space for them on committees and review boards, etc.

10. Host a guest speaker. Invite a guest speaker from a women’s, 2SLGBTQI+ or Indigenous organization to talk about the challenges facing survivors of gender-based violence, as well as the programs and resources available. Arrange to have a question-and-answer period following the presentation.

11. Call on leaders to criminalize sexual harassment, promote economic rights and justice for women, girls, transfeminine folx and 2-Spirit people and enforce anti-GBV policies. Make ending gender-based violence a national priority and increase funding for gender-based violence programs.

12. December 6 – National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Host a vigil or an event and set up informational displays in public areas to raise awareness about gender-based violence and share information about the resources available in your community or local schools.

13. Host a film screening and panel discussion. Movies help us talk about difficult topics like gender-based violence. Screen a movie that deals with issues of power, control, and abuse followed by a panel discussion and Q & A session talking about the themes raised in the film and how those things may impact the audience, their family and their community.

14. Be mindful of your words. How often have comments like “Dude throws like a girl” been laughed off? Gender stereotypes contribute to a world that allows gender-based violence. Commit to changing your language and tell folx who make those types of comments that its not okay.

15. Support GBV organizations. Reach out to local women’s, 2SLGBTQI+, or Indigenous organizations/shelters that work to prevent gender-based violence and support survivors and find out what volunteering opportunities are available to support women, girls, transfeminine folx and 2-Spirit people overcoming gender-based violence.

16. December 10 – International Human Rights Day. Call your local gender-based violence program to find out how to help children and their parents living in a shelter. Shelters try to provide items that survivors couldn’t take with them when they fled, but lack of funding and resources makes it difficult to meet all their needs. Donate clothes, food, sanitary products, books, gift cards, PJs, holiday gifts, or anything else that will bring them security and comfort.

Together we can help raise awareness and bring an end to gender-based violence and discrimination.

In Solidarity on behalf of the Ontario Federation of Labour Women’s Committee.

Patty Coates, President, Ontario Federation of Labour
Mina Amrith, Vice President, Women, Ontario Federation of Labour