Orange day: 25th of each month to support Safe Education for women

Orange day June 2016

Action Plan for Orange Day, 25 June 2016

Safe education for women and girls


The United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women has proclaimed the 25th of each month as “Orange Day”, a day to raise awareness and take action to end violence against women and girls. As a bright and optimistic colour, orange represents a future free from violence against women and girls, for the UNiTE Campaign. Orange Day calls upon activists, governments and UN partners to mobilize people and highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.

In 2016, a new global development agenda was accepted by all countries and is applicable to all. Through its 17 goals and 169 targets, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an agenda for global action for the next 15 years, addresses the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. The Agenda recognizes gender equality and the empowerment of women as a key priority and pledges that “no one will be left behind”. Goal 5 of the agenda aims to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” and includes specific targets to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. All goals are integrated and indivisible, therefore their achievement is also fully dependent on ensuring parallel and interconnected implementation of the efforts to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls. For this reason, throughout 2016, the UNiTE campaign through its Orange Days will highlight specific Sustainable Development Goals as they relate to violence against women and girls.

This Orange Day, 25 June, the UNiTE campaign will highlight Goal 4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

Safe education for women and girls 

Girls’ education is a tremendous force for social change, economic growth and social stability though many barriers remain in terms of ensuring all girls have access to safe education. Girls experience violence at the hands of fellow students, teachers, school administrators and others. They may face sexual harassment, bullying, cyber violence or may be asked for sexual favors in exchange for good grades or school fees. In some countries, the route to school may be unsafe. In others, girls are specifically targeted by violence simply for going to school to complete their education and for advocating for girls’ right to an education.

Many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of the right to education; they are more likely to have caring responsibilities within their families and when resources are short, the education of male siblings may be prioritized. The failure to ensure girls are able to access their right to education has profound effects on individuals as well as wider society. For girls, lack of education has lifelong consequences, such as increasing the likelihood they will enter into situations of economic dependence in which their vulnerability to violence may be increased. For society at large, the transformative potential of girls’ education is immense for the achievement of almost all development goals.

Remarkable progress has been made on increasing enrolment, but gaps still remain, particularly in the right to education for girls and education in emergency situations, where attending school can be a risky endeavor.  Because of the erosion of standard protection mechanisms caused by humanitarian emergencies, students and education personnel – particularly females – may face an increased risk of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and abuse, abduction or attack while travelling to and from school.  Lack of supervisory staff increases the risk of bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault occurring on school grounds by peers as well as teachers and other adults.

Suggested Orange Day Activities 

  • Wear orange on 25 June to show your support for ending violence against women and girls.
  • Raise awareness within your community about gender-based violence risks and protective factors related to education. Engage men and boys, teachers and leaders in your community in these awareness-raising activities as agents of change.
  • Engage local decision and policy-makers and demand better and safer equipped schools (with private and sex-segregated dormitories, toilets and bathing facilities, adequate lighting and safety evacuation pathways).

If you are a teacher, engage in conversations with your students (girls and boys) to raise their awareness on gender equality and on what constitutes violence against women and girls.

Information taken from the Orange Day Action Plan for 25 June 2016 as issued by the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women.