White Ribbon 2021 and 16 days of activism against gender based violence


Thu 25 Nov 2021

The 25th of November is White Ribbon Day and the United Nations International Day to End Violence Against Women, which starts the 16 days of activism.

The White Ribbon NZ campaign this year is Whiti te rama - Shine a light on what works in violence prevention in our communities. The campaign is focused on highlighting stories of change to inspire people who are currently experiencing violence. White Ribbon is asking people who have used violence and people who have experienced violence to share their stories of coping, getting support, and the tools that helped with change.

White Ribbon NZ has also launched a new video and new toolbox on call-in culture. The campaign notes that:

“Effective prevention moves beyond simply stopping violence into promoting alternative healthy behaviours. We must encourage boys and men to recruit and educate other boys and men in ways that lift each other up. An effective way to do this is by ‘inviting’ men, rather than indicting them. This means not only modelling positive behaviour in front of each other, but also understanding that other men might be at a different part of their journey and still working it out for themselves.”

According to White Ribbon Ambassador David Cournane:

“Once upon a time if you were coaching a team you would have highlighted mistakes and used shame to call out unwanted behaviours. While we still have to correct errors, there is now much more of a focus on finding those moments where the players are doing something well, and using these as key learning moments. With a focus upon growing from our strengths and our successes, we are more likely to engage those around us.

I know that being empathetic, and understanding the drivers behind someone’s behaviour, and speaking to those issues, is far more effective than just simply calling someone out. If you want people to change, you’ve got to give them a reason to change, and that requires being empathetic and kind,”

The campaign also seeks to shine a light on pre-colonial attitudes to women and children and the ways in which colonisation has led to limited understandings of possible masculinities. The campaign notes that:

“Historical records suggest that the possibilities for Māori tāne were much broader before the importation of European models of masculinity. These records suggest Māori men were looked down upon by Pākehā for lacking appropriately stoic ‘masculine’ behaviours, and were instead talkative and animated, partook in the same work as women, and readily expressed their emotions. The fact that colonisation has led to limited understandings of possible masculinities, and has justified and excused abuse at the hands of men suggests that unpacking assumptions about colonial masculinity can help Aotearoa reset our attitudes and behaviours by building on traditional Māori values.”

White Ribbon has also teamed up this year with Hohou te Rongo Kahukura – Outing Violence and Rainbow Hub Waikato to develop a new Toolbox for parents with kids who break gender rules. The Toolbox – Kids and Gender – will be launched at a webinar on 29 November. Also see our calendar for educational webinars and events happening around the country.

See more information about this year's White Ribbon campaign. Find local White Ribbon events or list your event.

See the news stories below for resources from previous White Ribbon campaigns.

Economic Abuse/Harm Awareness Day

Good Shepherd NZ is raising awareness about economic abuse in recognise of Economic Harm Awareness Day, the 26 November with resources and a webinar. The Canadian Centre for Women’s Empowerment launched Economic Abuse Awareness Day in Canada in 2019 to increase awareness of economic abuse. This is the first time the day is being recognised in Aotearoa New Zealand.

For recent research about economic abuse watch the webinar from Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) on Understanding economic and financial abuse. The webinar draws on a series of research reports from the University of New South Wales’s Gendered Violence Research Network on financial abuse.

16 days of activism against gender-based violence

The international 16 days of activism against gender-based violence runs from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10 December (Human Rights Day) each year. The 2021 UNiTE Campaign’s global advocacy theme this year is: "Orange the World: End violence against women now!" For more information and actions you can take, see this year’s concept note.

It has been 30 years since the global 16 days of activism campaign launched to raise awareness about violence against women. To acknowledge the continued need to urgently address femicide, the Global 16 Days Campaign has published the 2021 Femicide Advocacy Guide. The guide discusses the prevalence of femicide and the international norms and standards that could be used to address femicide.

In a Statement to the UN General Assembly, the new Special Rapporteur On Violence Against Women, Its Causes And Consequences, Reem Alsalem acknowledged the report Taking stock of the femicide watch initiative (2021). The report was completed by outgoing Special Rapporteur, Ms. Dubravka Simonovic. It highlights research on femicide and evidence-based policy and legislative responses, as well as international differences in data collection and femicide definitions.

In the same Statement, Special Rapporteur Reem Alsalem outlined her thematic priorities for the next three years, including:

  • violence against indigenous women and girls
  • gender-based violence in the context of disaster risk reduction and response related to climate change
  • psychological violence against women
  • the relationship between the condition of statelessness, gender, and gender-based violence
  • the intersection between gender-based violence against women, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

Related news

Manatū Wāhine |Ministry for Women is developing the Women's Employment Action Plan. The plan will identify actions to improve the employment outcomes for women in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Ministry media release notes "When completed, the action plan will bring together current work across government and identify possible new areas for action that may emerge through engagement, to support women’s employment." The Ministry is asking for feedback on two questions:

  • "What do you think are the barriers to women’s employment?"
  • "What actions do you think should be included in the Women’s Employment Action Plan?"

Send your feedback by email to mahi@women.govt.nz and reference 'Feedback on Women's Employment Action Plan'.

Related media

She Is Not Your Rehab - White Ribbon Day Media Conference 2021, Press Release: Sister Sister Limited, Scoop, 25.11.2021

#RatifyC190: Workers Rise Across The World To End Gender-based Violence And Harassment In The World Of Work, Press Release: ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation), Scoop, 25.11.2021

On International Day, UN chief says ‘violence against women is not inevitable’, UN News, 24.11.2021

White Ribbon advocating conversations with mates, RNZ, 23.11.2021

White Ribbon Day chance for reset, Waatea News, 23.11.2021

Economic Harm – An Illegal But Still Hidden Issue In Aotearoa, Press Release: Good Shepherd, Scoop, 22.11.2021

Opening Address NZLS Family Violence Dynamics Forum Speech by Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence Marama Davidson, Beehive speech, 17.11.2021

Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence Marama Davidson Speech at TOAH NNEST Sexual Violence Virtual Summit, Beehive speech, 16.11.2021

Shine A Light On Stories Of Change, Press Release: White Ribbon, Scoop, 15.11.2021

Motivation to change: A basketball coach's mission to support Pasifika dads, Stuff, 17.10.2021

Image: White Ribbon NZ 2021 Campaign

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