The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. It was originated by the first Women's Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and is coordinated by the Center for Women's Global Leadership.
As in previous years, the colour orange will be a key theme unifying all activities; buildings and landmarks will be lit and decorated in orange to bring global attention to the issue of violence against women and girls.
This year, the UNiTE Campaign will mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence under the overarching theme, “Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls” – Reflecting the core principle of the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
At Cherehani Africa we focus on women and adolescent girls running micro-enterprises in underserved markets, it is therefore critical to reflect on the vast consequences of gender based violence. Violence does not only negatively affect the profitability and productivity of women owned businesses, but essentially endangers their existence.
Entrepreneurship in most developing countries is the only viable option to provide for the household. Female owned micro-enterprises are characterised by flexible/low capital requirements, low income and are largely concentrated in the service sector. The micro-entrepreneur has no fixed income, no fixed working hours, no fixed work station, and is not covered by any clearly defined labor legislation. The women have no health insurance and are responsible for most of the responsibilities within the business.
The management of a business requires commitment and a supportive environment. A violent environment is a big business obstacle. Violence not only affects the emotional health and personal dignity of the victim but also endangers their micro-enterprises. This is caused by two broad factors: loss in working days as the victim has to take care of the problems caused by the violence resulting in not generating income and additional direct expenses like medical costs.
We strive to empower women micro-entrepreneurs comprehensively; we have incorporated workshops and educative content to reduce inequality and encourage inclusive dialog. Our workshops include men and boys to address the patriarchal norms that chip into the gains made against gender based violence.
We hope that this article will contribute to all of us recognizing the negative impacts of gender-based violence and inspire us to act in order to significantly combat violence against women and girls.