India Gate goes ‘orange’ to mark call to action on gender based violence

'Orange the World' kicks off in India with illumination of the iconic monument India Gate in orange. Delegates with the Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in the backdrop of India Gate (Photo/ courtesy UN Women)
'Orange the World' kicks off in India with illumination of the iconic monument India Gate in orange. Delegates with the Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in the backdrop of India Gate (Photo/ courtesy UN Women)

NEW YORK (TIP): New Delhi’s iconic landmark, India Gate, turned orange on 25 November to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, led by UN Women.

The illumination of the monument also marked the launch of UN Women’s annual 16 Days of Activism against gender based violence. The campaign concluded on 10 December, Human Rights Day. UN Women called on governments, civil society, media and all stakeholders to say ‘NO’ to violence against women every day and always.

The color orange has been a unifying theme for all advocacy activities relating to ending violence against women across the world. It has attracted global attention, lending momentum to the UN’s efforts to rally government and citizens to the cause. This year’s ‘Orange the World’ campaign focused on the theme of preventing violence against women and girls, in the specific context of the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which includes targets on ending violence against women and girls.

“We look forward to a world and a future where all women and their rights will be respected,” said Speaker of the Lok Sabha (lower house of the Indian Parliament) Sumitra Mahajan, who was Chief Guest at the commemoration at India Gate.

“Today the lighting up of India Gate in the color orange signifies freedom from violence for all women and girls in India and across the world,” UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri said during the commemoration.

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“A staggering one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime-a pandemic of global proportions. Stopping the violence from happening in the first place is the key and this has to be in all spaces: private, public and all work spaces, both organized and unorganized,” Ms. Puri added.

“Violence is not inevitable. It can be prevented.”

The event was also attended by Lalita Kumaramangalam of the National Commission for Women, Preeti Sudan from the Ministry of Women and Child Development, film producer and director Aishwaryaa R. Dhanush, all of whom emphasized the need to raise awareness among all sections of society and especially men and boys.

“The time for action is now,” said UNFPA Representative Frederika Meijer. “We must achieve Planet 50-50 by 2030.”

In addition to the illumination of India Gate, during the 16 Days of Activism, UN Women displayed Ending Violence Against Women messages in the Delhi Metro, on two high traffic lines (Yellow and Blue lines). Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is amongst the top three metro systems in Asia. Classified by gender, approximately 76% of Delhi Metro commuters are male and 24 % are female. The messages will be seen by more than 2,52,000 commuters during the entire month.

UN Women also displayed stickers with themes related to Gender Based Violence on 5000 Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses plying in the city. These stickers will remain on the buses even after the conclusion of the 16 Days of Activism. The messages are expected to reach out more than .5 million commuters each day.

A social media campaign with the hashtag #OrangetheWorld called on individuals, neighborhoods, NGOs, the private sector, educational institutions and others to “orange the world” and become part of the global campaign to end violence against women and girls.

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