In the Caribbean sub-region, at least one in three women has been a victim of at least one form of gender-based violence in her lifetime, making this one of the most widespread violations of human rights.
UNESCO is committed to removing barriers that hinder women's personal and professional development and to ensure that everyone has fair, inclusive and equal access to opportunities, resources and tools that enable them to reach their full potential.
The Caribbean Sheroes Initiative, implemented in partnership with the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies, aims to produce knowledge, create networks, and enhance the skills of young people to critically reflect on negative social norms and promote gender equality. This also includes the positive redefinition of femininity and masculinity and the engagement of men and boys, alongside women and girls, in the global movement for gender equality.
Sheroes Youth Action to end Gender-Based Violence in the Caribbean
Youth-led action is critical in the fight against culturally sanctioned behaviors, preconceived notions of traditional gender norms and stereotypical gender roles which lead to violence against women and girls in the Caribbean.
This is why as part of the 16 days of Activism, UNESCO in partnership with the Institute for Gender and Development Studies launch ORANGE THE WORLD - SHEROES YOUTH ACTION TO END GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN THE CARIBBEAN, a campaign to raise awareness and share knowledge for ending gender-based violence, now and forever.
During the 16 days from November 25 to December 10, young human rights and gender activists who have participated in the Sheroes Summer School and Regional Training for Gender Equality, Advocacy and Development will share their work and messages on UNESCO’s social media to advocate for the eradication of gender-based violence.
Saadia Sanchez Vegas, UNESCO Caribbean Director and Representative
“Youth-led action is critical in the fight against culturally sanctioned behaviors, preconceived notions of traditional gender norms and stereotypical gender roles which lead to violence against women and girls in the Caribbean.”
Sapphire Alexander, Sheroes Graduate
“Through Youth Against GBV Campaign, we were able to educate and engage more than one thousand young people through the dissemination of infographics, provision of resources and through hosting live events with local activists and advocates. This year, we hope to engage and educate even more young people through a combination of virtual and in person events. We believe that the key to ending gender-based violence is engaging with young people to eliminate harmful behaviors, attitudes and stereotypes that are passed on through generations."
Dr Monique Lynch, Sheroes Graduate
"The unfortunate scourge of domestic violence that causes women and children to live in fear, and the number of murder-suicide cases has drastically increased over the past few years in the security forces. Gender-based violence is a public health issue which means it is everybody's business and for things to change, we must take an interprofessional approach My non-profit organization, Chosen Stars Foundation launched a mental health programme in partnership with a local police station to provide mandatory counselling to victims/survivors and perpetrators of all intimate partner violence cases reported to the station.”
Makesi Francis, Sheroes Graduate
“We need to educate ourselves about rape culture, the normalization of harmful behaviors, and the effects that generate gender-based violence. Check yourself, ask yourself, have I ever perpetuated rape culture. What does that look like? Does my environment encourage it? How can I shift this perspective? Understand from the victim’s point of view. Don't blame them.”
Oliviann Weekes, Sheroes Graduate
Oliviann Weekes works at the St. Lucia Planned Parenthood Association and highlights the need to create safe spaces to openly discuss and educate every individual on the dangers and consequences of gender-based violence (GBV). “Currently, we are working on a research project which focuses on understanding the attitudes of men and boys towards gender-based violence. The results will help us develop more targeted messages to continue fighting against GBV.”
Prof. Paula Morgan, University Director IGDS-RCO
“Gender-based violence is a multi-contextual, multi-generational, multi-cultural, multi-national scourge that crops up in culturally specific modes. It is related to the myriad ways in which gender is constructed and performed; notions of the appropriate exercise of personal and institutional authority; patterns of marriage and cohabitation; educational levels, racism and poverty; ideologies and values; beliefs and traditions.”
The views expressed in this campaign represent the opinion of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of UNESCO or IGDS.