Launch of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign to End Gender Based Violence

Remarks by Ms. Mikiko Tanaka, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative

As voices against Gender Based Violence grow stronger and louder, this year’s Global theme is Orange the World: #HearMeToo. Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to fulfill women and girls’ human rights. All in all, the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - to leave no one behind - cannot be fulfilled without putting an end to violence against women and girls.

SDG 5 is about achieving Gender Equality and includes the elimination of discrimination and violence against women and girls. UNDP supports national partners to develop and implement the required legal and policy frameworks to combat sexual and gender-based violence in collaboration with sister UN agencies.

UNDP is partnering with UN Women to compile comprehensive national data on prevalence, nature and response to Gender Based Violence including violence against women. 

UNDP and UNAIDS work with civil society organisations for legal change to end discrimination and violence against LGBT.

UNDP also works to mainstream gender equality throughout their development activities.  UNDP works with FAO to strengthen disaster management capacities of women in rural communities – a gender strategy for disaster risk management in the agriculture sector will soon be launched.

The Gender Inequality Index in the 2018 Human Development Statistical Update by UNDP shows continued gender-based inequalities in Guyana. 

In Guyana, 32 % of parliamentary seats are held by women, which is highest in the Caribbean region, but there is still scope for parity.  Girls and young women do better than boys and young men in education, but female participation in the labour market is 40 % compared to 75% for men.  Women on average earn only half the income of men.

Although a growing number of Guyanese women today actively participate in the public, professional and informal economy sectors, women and girls still face numerous gender-related barriers which hinder their social and economic empowerment.

Violence against women – particularly domestic violence – remains socially and culturally accepted nation-wide and is directly linked to the power control men try to exercise over women. Sexual violence against women and girls also remains prevalent and lack of punishment for perpetrators further reinforces abuse. 

Data is not available but reports from women indicate that sexual harassment in the workplace is quite common. As women around the world speak out and stand up against sexual harassment, the UN System wishes to work together with the Ministry of Social Protection to take concrete steps to eliminate sexual harassment.  

Eliminating gender-based violence requires holistic and persistent approaches to secure a safe, respectful and dignified environment for women and girls in everyday life from home to school, workplace, streets and transport, public services, stores, markets and in communities.       

Let me end with a message from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres:

“This year’s theme highlights the UNs support for survivors and advocates and it is designed to send a clear message: violence against women and girls must end now, and we all have a role to play. Orange the world: #HearMeToo is a global movement that we celebrate today, as we look forward to the coming 16 days devoted to ending gender-based violence. Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free of fear, violence and everyday insecurity, can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world.”

Thank you.

Speech by
Mikiko Tanaka
Resident Coordinator
Mikiko Tanaka, UN Resident Coordinator
UN entities involved in this initiative
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
United Nations Development Programme