First Benchmark Far Surpassed; Global Constituency Spans Participants from 190 Countries
For immediate release
Date: 2 March 2010
Oisika Chakrabarti, Media Specialist, UN Women Headquarters, +1 646 781-4522,
United Nations, New York — The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) today announced that it has recorded 183,132 actions to end violence against women through its Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women initiative. This tally far surpasses the initial goal for Say NO of stimulating more than 100,000 actions by International Women’s Day. Launched in November 2009 as a web platform to facilitate, showcase and count efforts to address gender-based violence by individuals, governments and civil society, Say NO is a direct contribution to the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign.
Citizens of more than 190 countries have used the web-based platform for advocacy and outreach, and participated through its related social media initiatives in the last four months.The actions showcased on the Say NO – UNiTE platform range from students learning about preventing violence against women in schools in Thailand to the Parliament of Maldives signing on to Say NO and adopting a Resolution on ending violence against women. In Kenya, the group Men for Gender Equality Now travelled across the country to mobilize their communities against discrimination, and in Brazil members of trade unions demanded 24-hour access to trained police to report gender-based violence.
UNIFEM Executive Director Inés Alberdi said: “We have always believed that violence against women is a problem with a solution. And these initiatives weave a rich variety of solutions to end probably one of the most wide-spread human rights violations. It is my greatest pleasure to announce that we have by far surpassed our goal of 100,000 actions, which shows how in every part of the world people are mobilizing and taking action on this issue.”
Say NO – UNiTE has garnered the support of 186 official partners representing millions of members, who are working on the ground to end this pandemic. It has also mobilized critical funding towards programmes and efforts to end violence against women worldwide. The luxury watchmaker Omega spurred actions on the platform through a challenge grant of US$50,000 that will go to women's organizations on the ground, while Zonta International, a longtime partner of UNIFEM, has recorded a contribution of US$100,000 for the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. This Trust Fund is managed by UNIFEM on behalf of the UN system and supports women’s organizations and projects around the world.
Based on country data available, it is estimated that up to 70 percent of women and girls experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime. The UNIFEM initiative Say NO – UNiTE demonstrates that there is a groundswell of activity on ending violence against women around the world. It was built on the momentum generated during its first phase when more than five million people signed on to a global call to make ending violence against women a top priority worldwide. The signatures which were generated from the initial global call were handed over to the UN Secretary General by Say NO Spokesperson and Academy Award winning actress Nicole Kidman, included Heads of State and Ministers from 69 governments and more than 700 Parliamentarians.
The action tally will be announced at an event with partners at 13:15 EST today in Conference Room 6, in the Temporary North Lawn Building at the UN Headquarters in New York. The event is open to the media.