As a multi-issue call to organise for change providing advocacy tools, strategies, and recommendations for action, the 17 Days Campaign involves rural women leaders and their communities in becoming lobby groups for claiming basic human rights and demanding accountability from their governments. World Rural Women’s Day (15 Oct.) was created in 1995 in synergy with World Food Day (16 Oct.) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 Oct.). With this in mind, the Women’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF) decided to extend this campaign through 16 and 17 October to focus on the empowerment of rural women and their communities. The annual advocacy campaign was launched in 2015.
Communication Strategies: Every year, WWSF works with its partners, women’s rights and development organisations, grassroots groups, and the media to mobilise communities, connect women, men, girls, and boys to work for continued change and ensure that especially rural women rise and claim their right to developments, equality, and peace. The 17 Days initiative is about creating widespread multi-sectoral interest and increased action by women’s groups and networks to gain the support from partners, local authorities, donors, and academics to bring their priorities and practices to the forefront of policy and programming for the reduction of vulnerabilities to disasters, climate change, and poverty. It serves as an additional platform for mobilisation and education of the public at large.
As of 2016, WWSF is including in the 17 Days Kit [PDF] the adopted United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provides information on the relevant SDG Targets to be reached by 2030 – especially SDG 5: By 2030, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The kit provides those organisations who choose to register to be part of the 17 Days coalition with information and definitions, facts and figures, and resources for each of the 17 themes (see below), with a special focus on a main theme, which in 2016 is “Claim your right to mitigate and adapt to climate change”. The kit focuses on these campaign strategies:
- Mobilising rural women leaders, organisations, and grassroots groups to claim their rights;
- Strengthening local/national initiatives in rural communities and creating new women’s groups to rise for compliance;
- Raising awareness of the multifaceted problems still facing rural women communities;
- Educating for advocacy and providing empowerment tools;
- Lobbying governments to implement UN declarations and recommendations for rural women and their communities;
- Linking rural women and their communities to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW);
- Bringing to light the inequalities and lack of progress in many rural areas, its multifaceted aspects of poverty, and the need to generate sufficient government and public support for improving life in rural areas; and
- Creating new synergies at many levels between diverse actors (youth included) to empower communities.
The kit also includes a wide array of suggested ideas for action to support and assist coalitions who have registered to be part of the campaign to develop their own activities and events at a local, national, or international level. For example: “Build broad alliances with grassroots groups and networks to campaign with you on a given topic or several of them. Arrange meetings with government representatives and advocate for legislative changes necessary for compliance with CEDAW, the Beijing Platform for Action, and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.” People remain free to focus their campaign on the theme(s) of your choice, but the 17 themes (with more information on each available on the campaign website, are:
- 1 Oct. Claim your right to development as a woman’s right
- 2 Oct. Claim your right to education for you and your children
- 3 Oct. Claim your right to safe water
- 4 Oct. Claim your right to health and wellbeing
- 5 Oct. Claim your right to adequate housing
- 6 Oct. Claim your right to live in a clean environment
- 7 Oct. Claim your right to mitigate and adapt to climate change
- 8 Oct. Claim your right to economic development & autonomy
- 9 Oct. Claim your right to information & communication technology
- 10 Oct. Claim your right to land and inheritance
- 11 Oct. Claim your right to decision-making and leadership
- 12 Oct. Claim your right to security, safety, and an end to violence
- 13 Oct. Claim your right to peace
- 14 Oct. Claim your right to hold your leaders accountable
- 15 Oct. Claim your right – Celebrate rural women & the International Day of Rural Women
- 16 Oct. Claim your right to food & participate in the World Food Day
- 17 Oct. Claim your right to an adequate standard of living & Participate in the Intl. Day for the Eradication of Poverty
Development Issues: Women, Rights, Environment
Key Points: Selected facts and figures UN sources):
- 70% of the world’s economically poor are women.
- 145 out of 195 countries guarantee equality between women and men in their constitutions as of 2014.
- Rural women are roughly 1.6 billion and represent more than a quarter of the total population.
- Rural women represent two-thirds of all illiterate people.
- Worldwide, women and children spend 140 million hours each day collecting water.
WWSF is an international solidarity and empowerment network with a mission to help advance the status of women and children by providing information, research and analysis, training workshops, conferences, and prize awards. 2016 marks WWSF’s 25th anniversary, celebrating its annual empowerment programmes, including the Prize for Rural Women, 19 Days of Activism for Prevention of Child Abuse, and the Swiss White Ribbon initiatives.
For More information: http://womensection.woman.ch/index.php/en