End Violence against Women Now!


Some girls commit suicide to avoid forced marriage - 72% of human trafficking victims are women and girls - Gender-based violence jeopardises girls’ education. These are just some of the reasons why we need to act now to end gender-based violence. Today we #OrangeTheWorld in solidarity with victims of violence, and the EU takes stock of progress made and challenges ahead, one year after adopting the Gender Action Plan III, which promotes gender equality and women's empowerment through all external action of the European Union.




Nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime. In times of crises, the numbers rise, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent humanitarian crises, conflicts and climate disasters.


Over the past year we also witnessed worrisome developments threatening women and girls worldwide. To name but a few:

  • In March, the Turkish government decided to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. Women in and outside Turkey poured into the streets in protest.
  • Since June, the unfolding events in Afghanistan are threatening the rights of Afghan women and girls, many of whom remain at risk due to their work, studies, activities and their opinions.
  • In Ethiopia, the atrocities of sexual violence and related impunity in the Tigray region continue, with no end in sight.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, cases of the 'shadow pandemic' of domestic violence increased, showing that for many women and girls, home is not a safe place. Emotional abuse is also a problem that should not be ignored. In Europe 43% of women have experienced some form of psychologically abusive and/or controlling behaviour when in a relationship.


Gender-based cyber violence is also spreading fast. A relatively new phenomenon is experienced by all women, though women visible in public life, such as journalists and politicians, experience gender-based cyber violence disproportionately often, which can affect democratic decision-making: they do not dare express political opinions due to fear of online targeting.


"Progress is possible and we must continue to work together tirelessly to achieve more."



The EU's Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in External Relations (GAPIII) mainstreams gender in all policies and actions, addressing structural causes of gender inequality and gender-based discrimination, including by actively engaging men and boys in challenging gender norms and stereotypes. Ensuring freedom from all forms of gender-based violence is a central part of this Gender Action Plan III.


The EU will continue its efforts to curb sexual and gender-based violence throughout the world, including in fragile, conflict and emergency situations, for example through the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative which has helped 650,000 women and girls worldwide and protected them or prevented violence against them, educated 880,000 men and boys on positive masculinity, non-violent conflict resolution and parenting, and contributed to the signature or strengthening of 84 national laws and policies to fight gender-based violence.


"Let’s make Europe and the rest of the world safe for all women and girls."







As in previous years, this year's International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women launches 16 days of activism ending on 10 December, Human Rights Day. In support of this initiative, we will be looking at 16 reasons to act now to end gender-based violence.

In conformity with this year's theme, 'Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!', the #16Days campaign kicks off after the illumination of the EEAS Building and other EU Buildings in Brussels and around the world in orange, in solidarity with victims of violence.




16 Reasons to act now to #EndGBV

Rarely in the world have women’s and girls’ rights been challenged as they have been in Afghanistan. The latest developments give cause for great concern. The EU has made it clear that future EU development assistance to Afghanistan will depend on the respect for the international legal framework and for norms on human rights, including women’s and girls’ rights. The EU is determined and committed to continue to support the women and girls of Afghanistan and worldwide, sticking to our values and beliefs.

It is for women and girls in Afghanistan and worldwide that we need to act now to #EndGBV

Read more in the Joint Op-ed by Josep Borrell, Jutta Urpilainen


G5 Sahel countries face socio-economic challenges that could be meaningfully addressed if women and men had access to the same opportunities. Statistics show that discriminatory traditions and gender stereotypes persist in the Sahel. The gender gap in the region remains the widest – with an average of 31.9%, which is below the continental average of 48.4%.  Including more women like Lieutenant Colonel Fady in the armed and security forces and at all levels would increase the likelihood that gender-based violence will be more properly addressed. Fady explains how sensibilization on this subject among officers to be deployed in conflict area needs to be continuous. “Women can talk to a lot more people than men as they can reach out to other women. People of rural, crisis areas, can speak more easily to a woman, than to a man”.

It is like women in the Sahel such as Fady that we need to act now to #EndGBV

Read how More women in the Armed Forces can make a difference against GBV in the Sahel


Fady, the strong, forever girl from Timbuktu who succeeded to become an army officer, a mother, a survivor, with a positive, forward looking way of speaking up for women empowerment in the Sahelian security forces.




Several are the reasons to end violence against women. Stay tuned for our campaign highlighting 16 reasons to act now to #EndGBV.

Follow the thread below for the next #16Days!


See also