The 25th November marks the UN International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women and the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, ending on 10th December (Human Rights Day). During this time, Soroptimists across Ireland will be taking action and calling for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Eadaoin Lawlor, President of Soroptimist International Ireland, comments, “In Ireland, violence against women is a significant issue that has worsened since the pandemic. We have seen 244 women murdered since 1996 (Women’s Aid, 2022), and 87% of these women were killed by a man known to them. At least 26% of women in Ireland have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15, and 41% of people in Ireland know a woman within their circle of friends and family who is a victim of domestic violence. As a women’s organisation that seeks to empower, enable and educate, we must bring these issues to the fore to enable women and girls to live safely within their communities”. 

This year Soroptimists throughout Ireland will be working with their local communities to highlight the UN Orange the World Campaign. Soroptimists will be placing Orange high heel shoes in windows of shops and businesses for the campaign’s duration with the simple message to women that “you are not alone”. We have also created posters and information cards with the same message highlighting the Women’s aid Freephone number to enable women to gain help and support as needed. 

Why Orange / Why a Shoe? The colour orange symbolises a brighter future, free of violence. It also serves as a means of demonstrating solidarity in eliminating all forms of violence. Therefore, it is used as the colour of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. We have chosen a shoe as it is something most women identify with; however, it symbolises oppression and control. The idea of doing something “in high heels” is a near-universally understood shorthand that a woman faces additional gender challenges.

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