Deets:On Dec. 7, Vital Voices Global Partnership presented the Vital Voices Solidarity Award to five men who have given their time, talent and resources to the fight for universal equality and a world in which women live free from violence.
To further the fight to end violence against women, and to honor women’s rights on Human Rights Day Dec. 10, Vital Voices and Global Citizen launched a global petitiondemanding world leaders prioritize ending violence against women and girls.
“Women around the world are being affected by gender-based violence every day, and it comes in a variety of abuses, from domestic violence, to sexual violence, to human trafficking and harmful traditional practices,” said Cindy Dyer, Vital Voices vice president of Human Rights. “As long as violence against women persists, women's human rights are compromised.”
Voices of Solidarity Awards The Voices of Solidarity Awards, hosted by Diane von Furstenberg, Barry Diller, Sally Field and Donna Langley, paid tribute to five male allies with the vision and courage to demand a world free of gender-based violence. 2015 honorees included:
· Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: A former peacekeeper and diplomat advancing the inclusion of women in all UN efforts to protect human rights. · Gary Barker: A global leader in engaging men and boys to promote gender equality and prevent violence against women. · Sadou Lemankreo: A police officer and human rights defender who is challenging a culture of silence around violence against women and human trafficking in Cameroon. · John Prendergast: An activist and author at the forefront of initiatives to support women survivors of conflict in Africa. · Tom Wilson: A business leader and advocate offering economic empowerment services to help survivors of domestic violence break free from abuse.
According to the World Health Organization, more than one third of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries. Together, the Voices of Solidarity honorees are fueling a movement of men and boys united to end violence against women in every corner of the world.
“The gender revolution will be won when women and men work together toward a common and bold vision that sees us not as competing but as interconnected. It will emphasize not what is different between men and women but instead will focus on our common humanity,” said Gary Barker, founder of the MenEngage Alliance and Vital Voices Solidarity Award honoree.
Vital Voices understands that success will not be achieved by women alone, so the organization works with men by highlighting those who actively support the cause and advocating in tandem with them. Working together, women and men more effectively increase public awareness, advance the full implementation of laws and sustain the support services available to victims.
“All of us must stand up for victims of domestic violence,” said Tom Wilson, chairman and CEO, Allstate. “Let’s take away perpetrators’ weapons of choice: silence and financial bondage.” The 2014 Vital Voices Solidarity Award honorees included Vice President Joe Biden, Sir Patrick Stewart, former NFL player Don McPherson, and South African activist Bafana Khumalo.
Global Call to Action To rally support for efforts to end violence against women, Vital Voices announced a newly launched Global Citizen petition and pledge to encourage men and women around the world to sign. Once 20,000 signatures are collected, the petition will be delivered to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, as the UN is championing policies that will push forward the ideals laid out in Sustainable Development Goal 5 – Gender Equality.
“We need to unite around this issue by lifting up and highlighting the individuals—both men and women—who find creative and proven ways of combating this devastating global issue,” said Alyse Nelson, Vital Voices president and CEO. “There needs to be more funding behind this, and more voices raised in solidarity with those who cannot speak up for themselves. Please help us by lending your voice to our campaign with Global Citizen, so together we can create a groundswell of movement and create a lasting impact.”
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and one of the honorees noted, “You have to be a defender of women’s rights if you wish to be counted amongst those who defend human rights.”
John Prendergast, human rights advocate and Vital Voices Solidarity Award honoree added, “Ordinary Americans can have an extraordinary impact in ending the violence and atrocities against women and girls.”
About Vital Voices Vital Voices Global Partnership invests in women leaders who improve the world. Founded by then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and guided by the belief that women are essential to progress in their communities, we have partnered with leaders from more than 140 countries who advance economic opportunity, increase political and public leadership, and end violence against women. Our programs in strategic planning, business, advocacy and communications build critical skills needed for creating transformational change at scale. Through our global platform, women leaders expand their connections and visibility, accelerating shared progress for all.
Spotted: Diane von Furstenberg, Sally Field, Barry Diller