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White Ribbon Day is observed in November each year. Most countries observe the day on November 25, although Australia’s date changes, and this year is November 20. The day is for tens of thousands of people stand up, speak up, and say no to violence against women. It’s more important than ever to participate in movements such as these since there is a significant increase in violence, harassment, and abuse towards women. The campaign is intended to raise awareness about the prevalence of male violence against women, with the ribbon symbolizing “the idea of men giving up their arms”. Active in over 60 countries, people are urgently called to work together to prevent violence and make sure communities and homes are made safe for everyone.
History of White Ribbon Day
The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) is a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls. It was formed by a group of pro-feminist men in London, Ontario in November 1991 as a response to the École Polytechnique massacre of female students by Marc Lépine in 1989. Much of their work centers around gender violence prevention which includes educating and mentoring young men about issues such as violence and gender equality.
Men and boys are encouraged to wear white ribbons as a symbol of their opposition to violence against women. The white ribbon is an awareness ribbon sometimes used by political movements to signify or spread their beliefs. It is usually worn on garments or represented in information sources such as posters or leaflets. They are particularly encouraged to wear these during White Ribbon week which starts on November the 25th which is the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
The campaign was intended to raise awareness about the prevalence of male violence against women, with the ribbon symbolizing “the idea of men giving up their arms”. Active in over 60 countries — including Australia, Pakistan, Italy, and the UK — the movement seeks to promote healthy relationships, gender equity, and a compassionate vision of masculinity.
Women’s rights activists have observed 25 November as a day against gender-based violence since 1981. This date was selected to honor the Mirabal sisters, three political activists from the Dominican Republic who were brutally murdered in 1960 by order of the country’s ruler, Rafael Trujillo. On 20 December 1993, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women through resolution 48/104, paving the path towards eradicating violence against women and girls worldwide.
In 2018 for Australia, the day was moved from 25 November to 23 November to become a specific campaign day separate from the international day, and expanded to encompass violence against children. Businesses can attain a ‘white ribbon accredited workplace’, valid for three years.
White Ribbon Day timeline
The General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women through resolution 48/104, paving the path towards eradicating violence against women and girls worldwide.
The White Ribbon Campaign is formed by pro-feminist men in London in response to the Montreal Massacre, where 25-year-old Marc Lépine slaughtered 14 women because of his hatred toward women.
Women's rights activists begin observing November 25 as a day against gender-based violence.
The Mirabal sisters, three political activists from the Dominican Republic, are brutally murdered by order of the country’s ruler, Rafael Trujillo.
White Ribbon Day FAQs
What is the purpose of White Ribbon Day?
White Ribbon Day is your opportunity to bring people together — in person or online — to raise awareness and commit to action to prevent men’s violence against women, community by community, workplace by workplace and school by school
What does wearing a white ribbon mean?
The white ribbon is an awareness ribbon sometimes used by political movements to signify or spread their beliefs. One of the most notable usages of the white ribbon in recent times is as the symbol of anti-violence against women, safe motherhood, and other related causes.
What is the color ribbon for domestic violence?
Domestic violence awareness is associated with the color purple. Throughout October, people decorate their lives in the color purple — from t-shirts and ribbons to nail polish and hair color.
How To Observe White Ribbon Day
Men, wear a white ribbon
The wearing of the white ribbon stands for never taking part in, condoning, or staying silent about violence against women. And on White Ribbon Day, men and boys are encouraged to wear the white ribbon on November 25 and for a week or two afterward to support and highlight that pledge.
Be active on social media
Consider making a video on why you support White Ribbon Day and share it across your networking platforms. Be creative artistic with White Ribbons and free images. You can find free editing tools online and on your phone. Launch the video on White Ribbon Day. Make sure to spread the word by using #WhiteRibbonDay #MakeThePromise #NoExcuseForAbuse.
There are plenty of ways to spread awareness for White Ribbon Day. Perhaps, project a white ribbon onto the side of your office building, town hall, or place of worship. Create an awareness-raising opportunity outside shops or other places where people may need to be out and about – maybe you can find a singer or musician as well?
5 Frightening Facts About Violence Against Women
It is estimated that of the 87,000 women who were intentionally killed in 2017 globally, more than half were killed by intimate partners or family members, meaning that 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family every day.
Women in danger at university
23 percent of female undergraduate university students reported having experienced sexual assault or sexual misconduct in a survey across 27 universities in the United States in 2015.
On the streets
In a multi-country study from the Middle East and North Africa, between 40 and 60 percent of women said they had experienced street-based sexual harassment — mainly sexual comments, stalking/following, or staring/ogling.
In the workplace
Results from a national Australian survey show that almost two out of five women aged 15 and older who have been in the workforce in the last five years have experienced sexual harassment during that period.
Adult women account for nearly half of all human trafficking victims detected globally — women and girls together account for 72 percent, with girls representing more than three out of every four child trafficking victims.
Why White Ribbon Day Is Important
It’s a global movement
White Ribbon Day aims to reduce the horrifying statistics of violence against women by spreading awareness about the issue and this is a truly global problem. Different activities are performed at national and international levels, aiming to combat violence against women from every nook and corner of the countries participating. In Pakistan, many of the activities continue for the ‘16 Days of Activism’ which is planned and implemented to notify the maximum number of people about the statistics of violence against women, bearing in mind cultural norms, traditions, and religion.
It promotes gender equality
White Ribbon is the world's largest movement engaging men and boys to end men's violence against women and girls, promote gender equality and create new opportunities for men to build positive, healthy, and respectful relationships. This is a vital message to spread to end violence against women.
It acknowledges women’s achievements
The White Ribbon we see today is the result of activism and advocacy efforts across many countries and diversity of voices. It also acknowledges the significant achievements of women and women-led organizations throughout history, nationally and internationally to stop men’s violence against women.