Image: Orange the World – United Nations

Have you noticed the recent orange hue that bathed our world in its light? This was no mere coincidence! On November 25th, a day that has now passed, the globe paused to contemplate a critically significant issue: the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The campaign, known as ‘Orange the World’, saw Belgium participating enthusiastically.

A global movement in vivid orange

Annually, the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence” campaign is initiated, turning our social media feeds into a sea of orange, marked by the hashtag #orangetheworld. This potent symbol represents far more than just a color.

Belgium’s loud coice in a global fight

Though small in size, Belgium’s voice in this battle is both loud and clear. For years, combating gender-based violence has been a top priority in our foreign policy. This is crucial, considering that globally, nearly one in three women experiences physical and/or sexual domestic violence. A startling reality, indeed.

Prevention: the key focus

This year, the United Nations, particularly UN Women, emphasized prevention. Violence against women and girls is preventable. We are now more aware of the effective actions and strategies. When governments, UN agencies, civil society organizations, educational institutions, and the private sector join forces, we can make a real difference.

Belgium’s increased efforts

Belgium champions this cause both nationally and internationally, including through the implementation of its sixth National Action Plan to combat all forms of gender-based violence (2021-2025). Our Foreign Affairs Minister, Hadja Lahbib, is at the forefront of this effort, supporting numerous initiatives, such as those in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, to combat sexual violence and online harassment.

Belgian international solidarity

In our development cooperation, the fight against gender-based violence is a central pillar. It’s one of the four mainstays of our gender and development strategy. Belgium invests in initiatives like the UNFPA-UNICEF joint program to end female genital mutilation and the SheDecides Support Unit, a global political movement advocating for a world where every woman and girl has control over her body, life, and future.

Orange the World – Stronger together

Each year, the Belgian diplomatic network mobilizes for the “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” campaign. Let’s continue to follow and support their actions. After all, this is about more than just raising awareness; it’s about taking action, driving change, and securing a future where every woman and girl can live safely and free from violence.

Let’s unite to transform this orange glow from merely a color to a symbol of hope, strength, and change. Together, we can change the world, one orange beam of light at a time.