Actions we can take to change the story for women and girls

By Paul Windo

This fortnight represents an important annual moment in the campaign to end gender-based violence. The '16 Days of Activism' campaign calls on citizens to show how much they care about ending violence against women and girls by sharing the actions they are taking to create a world free from violence towards women. This year's campaign also calls on governments worldwide to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention. The 25th November was also White Ribbon Day encourages individuals and organisations to make consistent choices and actions to #ChangeTheStory for women and girls, so that they may live their lives free from the fear of violence.

These 16 days are an opportunity to think about what we can all do as individuals and organisations to end gender-based violence.

For me, this call to action made me reflect on when I started at The London Community Foundation. Picture the scene – it's day two of a brand new job and I spent the evening in the inspiring company of representatives of over 40 specialist organisations working to tackle, Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). The London Community Foundation was celebrating the work of our two-year Violence Against Women and Girls Grassroots Fund provided by The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) at an event showcasing all that had been achieved by the fund since its launch in 2021.

It was an eye-opening evening that left me feeling a mixture of motivation and provocation as we heard from the women who led these fantastic grassroots organisations. Stories of the vital work already achieved and the significant progress still needed. Experiences were shared by survivors of heart-breaking abuse and violence.

Panellists sit together in a line at the VAWG Grassroots Fund event. In the foreground you can see the back of the audience watching. In the background is a large screen featuring presentation slides.
A panel of specialist organisations at the VAWG Grassroots Fund event (Photo: Laura Henry / Yellow Light Pictures)

In my role, during these days of activism I will be thinking about the choices and actions me and my colleagues can make which could include;

  • Being intentional about our own behaviours and attitudes towards touch, humour and unwelcome attention.
  • Challenge those around us and call out unhelpful behaviour, practices and policies – whether at home, in the workplace or in our friendship groups.
  • Champion the work of specialist organisations tackling gender-based violence. Share what they do in conversation and online through our social channels.

At The London Community Foundation we are committed to raising the profile of specialist community-led organisations working to tackle violence against women and girls in London. Through the MOPAC VAWG Grassroots Fund we have learnt a great deal, and it has allowed us to better understand how effective preventative interventions can be, through organisations working with both young girls and boys. Our latest Youth Futures Fund this year will also fund innovative community projects educating young people on the impact of unhealthy relationships that lead to sexism, misogyny and violence.

We will be sharing examples of the great organisations throughout these ’16 Days of Activism’. We will also be highlighting both past, present and future funds that we manage that help local, specialist organisations continue to provide support for women living with the impact of violence and those campaigning to see such violence ended. Follow us on social media to see more of the great work being done across London.