CUNY SPH partners with UNFPA on campaign to end gender-based violence

CUNY SPH partners with UNFPA on campaign to end gender-based violence

NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) has partnered with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, an initiative to bring global awareness to the widespread issue of gender-based violence, a pervasive public health threat.

The 16 Days campaign was launched in 1991 at the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute held by the Center for Global Women’s Leadership (CGWL), with the goal of raising awareness of gender-based violence as a human rights violation. It gained traction in more than 187 countries, with participation from over 6,000 organizations and a reach of over 300 million. In August 2022, CWGL sadly closed its doors after 31 years of collaborative and transformative global work. The campaign will now be housed at CUNY SPH, ensuring that the important work of CWGL will continue going forward.

For over thirty years this civil society-led campaign has brought together local and global feminist activists and movements to raise awareness of the many forms of gender-based violence, its root causes and impact, and pathways to prevention and accountability. The campaign, which originally kicked off each year on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ran for 16 days through December 10, Human Rights Day, will be transformed under CUNY SPH’s guidance into a year-round initiative.

In the coming year, CUNY SPH will hold a series of virtual conversations with feminist activists around the globe on how they see the campaign evolving to better amplify their voices and become a 365-day-a-year effort for shifting norms, securing accountability, and transforming power structures that oppress women, girls, and gender diverse people.

“Ending gender-based violence in our lifetimes will require gender-justice organizations and movements working in solidarity across local, national, regional, and international contexts,” says CUNY SPH Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs Terry McGovern. “Fostering such collaborations through new models of public health education, research, training, and practice rooted in innovative, interdisciplinary, multi-level work in diverse communities is central to CUNY SPH’s vision for achieving health equity.”

The 16 Days campaign will operate within CUNY SPH’s Sexual and Reproductive Justice Hub (SRJ Hub), developed to advance gender-justice research, education, and advocacy that centers the experiences of women of color and marginalized populations. The hub’s recent work includes analyses of the impact of donors on who and what interventions are funded, the impact of plural legal systems on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and plans to launch the nation’s first sexual and reproductive justice-focused professorship, named for esteemed women’s health pioneer Byllye Avery.

“Now more than ever, protecting the right to reproductive autonomy is crucial,” says CUNY SPH Dean Ayman El-Mohandes. “We’re proud to add this partnership to the SRJ work CUNY SPH is engaged in, especially at this dire point in history when these rights are being steadily eroded on many fronts.”

The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is committed to promoting and sustaining healthier populations in New York City and around the world through excellence in education, research and service in public health and by advocating for sound policy and practice to advance social justice and improve health outcomes for all.


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