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How Will You Help End Gender Based Violence? #16days Starts Now!

25 November 2014

Today, 25 November, marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign, a campaign established to galvanise action to end gender based violence around the world.

This year, the focus is on the effects of militarism and militarisation.

What are the 16 Days of Activism all about?

The campaign begins on 25 November, which is also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ends on Human Rights Day on 10 December.

The timing of the campaign symbolically links violence against women and human rights and rightfully stresses that gender based violence is an international human rights violation.

What does gender based violence have to do with militarism?


This year’s theme, “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Gender Based Violence!” underlines diverse challenges and contributors to gender based violence and the effects of militarism and other factors on our identities and experiences.

“It is more important than ever for us to join together in one strong voice and say enough to gender-based violence and its root causes of discrimination, inequality, and violations of economic and social rights,” says Dr. Radhika Balakrishnan, global coordinator of the 16 Days Campaign.

The link between gender based violence and militarism is a topic WILPF has been working on for many years, as reflected in our latest publications, You Get What You Pay For, which argues that “an overtly strong military presence creates insecurity. Thus demilitarisation and disarmament are essential components for achieving gender equality.”

What’s WILPF doing for 16 Days?

WILPF has had a strong partnership with the Campaign for many years. This year’s theme aligns particularly well with WILPF’s own Integrated Approach to advocating for peace by looking at intersecting issues of disarmament, human rights, women’s participation, peace, and security.

It also aligns with our Anniversary movement, Women’s Power to Stop War, which emphasises the importance of promoting disarmament and demilitarisation as the solutions to the gendered impacts of war.

If you are passionate about challenging militarism and ending gender based violence, then you won’t want to miss out on WILPF’s Anniversary Conference. Several panels at the conference will cover these interlinking themes.

In support of the 16 Days Campaign, we are offering a special discount for the Anniversary Conference tickets to all our members and regular participants who buy their tickets from 25 November to 10 December. For each day of the Conference, we will offer a €16 discount, so a total discount of €48.


Anniversary Atlas: the 16 Days Special

WILPF is also celebrating the 16 Days Campaign by opening up our Anniversary Atlas to our partners for contributions. The Anniversary Atlas is an interactive timeline that enables you to view the past, present and future activities of women peacemakers all over the world. With the special blue markers, you can now explore our partners’ peacemaking activities as well as our own.

Check out how the Atlas is celebrating the 16-Days Campaign and opening to all our partners to contribute!
Check out how the Atlas is celebrating the 16-Days Campaign and opening to all our partners to contribute!
Want to get involved in the 16 Days Campaign?

Make sure you don’t miss our 16 Days of Discount by registering now!

Follow the official 16 Days Campaign on Facebook and Twitter, and join the discussion by using the #16days and #EndVAW hashtags. We hope you will actively participate in spreading the word as widely as possible with us!

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Thank you!

Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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