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The Fight Against Gender Violence has a Color

Orange is the new hot shade when it comes to fighting violence against women and girls. Demonstrations and activities using the bright signature color have been going on around the world for several months, with the kickoff of UN Women’s new campaign, Orange the World, coming on November 25, which was the International Day for the elimination of Violence against Women. Activists will be staging Orange events around the world for 16 days until December 10—the United Nations’ Human Rights Day.

Orange the World is one of many profile-raising activities underway by the United Nations and other global solution networks devoted to helping overcome the scourge of gender-based violence around the world. The facts are sobering: women between the ages of 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, motor accidents, war and malaria.

Women Carry the Weight of Climate Change

Women also bear the greatest burden from the growing effects of climate change. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon issued a statement on the eve of COP21, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Paris:

“The changing climate poses risks for all of humanity. However, for women and girls in particular, many of whom spend a disproportionate amount of time searching for food, fuel and water, or struggling to grow crops, the differentiated impact is tremendous. In fact, when disasters strike, women are more likely than men to die, such as the case of the 2004 Asian tsunami where 70 percent of the fatalities were women.”

Women are also the “energy managers” of their families and, as such, should be included in decisions about and execution of government policies for resilience and sustainability. Their participation is key to finding sensible and viable solutions because they bring real experience from the trenches of life and survival.

International Human Rights Day was launched in December 10, 1948 when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There are two covenants on human rights: International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and on Civil and Political Rights. These represent milestones in human rights policy development but, as UN Women and hundreds of other organizations aimed at helping and protecting women realize, the end is not yet in sight.

Diane Francis is an award-winning columnist, bestselling author, investigative journalist, and television commentator. She writes for the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Al Jazeera America, Huffington Post, Politico, the World Post, Miami Herald and the New York Post. She is Editor-at-Large at Canada’s National Post. In addition she is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC within its Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. She is also Adjunct Faculty with Singularity University in Mountain View California, a Distinguished Professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management and has been a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.