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Dec. 1 (GIN) – Women around the world are taking part in 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers University in New Jersey in 1991.

Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.

The 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

According to the website http://16dayscwgl.rutgers.edu/campaign-calendar/events, actions such as workshops, poetry readings, dignity walks, and panel discussions have taken place in Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia and South Africa,

Similarly, events are underway in the U.S. at the North Carolina Chapter of UN Women/USNC and the Department of Women's and Gender Studies; California State University at San Marcos - Women's Studies Students Activism Projects and at the New York City Graduate Center where a full day’s conference on the kidnapped girls of Chibok, Nigeria, and the crisis of the Africa state will take place on Dec. 4.

This year’s theme for the 16 days is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Gender-Based Violence!”

The organizers wrote: “In the lead up to, and during, the 16 days of activism, participants will highlight the systemic nature of gender-based violence and militarism which encourages inequality and discrimination and prioritizes weapons spending over funding for quality education and healthcare and safe public spaces.

“The culture of militarism builds on and protects systems of power by controlling dissent and using violence to settle economic, political and social disputes. Militarism draws on and perpetuates patriarchal models of political, economic, and social domination of people by a small number of elites and privileges violent masculinity as acceptable behavior.

“The 16 Days Campaign focus on the intersections of gender-based violence and militarism is an effort to work toward a more equitable and peaceful world.”

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