Around the world, the 25th of each month is celebrated as ‘Orange Day’, as part of a call by the United Nations Secretary General for organizations to reaffirm their commitment to ending violence against women and girls by wearing orange. As part of the observation of this day in August, the Network of NGOs of T&T for the Advancement of Women will be having an event themed ‘Sound the Alarm: Don’t Hesitate!’
The event will consist of a march around the Brian Lara Promenade, the launch of the UN’s He for She campaign locally and a presentation of campaign contributions to female candidates in the upcoming election.
Network Coordinator Hazel Brown said the march is to educate the public on the issue of violence against women and girls, as well as Orange Day. “We are providing the people who are marching with some whistles which we think will help to get across the message that when you see or hear something, you must sound the alarm loudly, and don’t hesitate to do that.” Too often, people ignore violence against women and girls because they don’t want to get involved or aren’t sure of the situation, but they should not hesitate to get involved.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has also been invited to join the marchers and have lunch with them at the Breakfast Shed after the march.
Brown said since the Network was already planning to talk about domestic violence, it decided to do a launch of the ‘He for She’ campaign, a UN Women’s solidarity movement for gender equality which was originally launched by Harry Potter actress, Emma Watson. “We are asking men to sign up and say that they are in solidarity with the movement for gender equality in T&T. We have in fact asked quite a few distinguished men, including President Anthony Carmona, Chief Justice Ivor Archie and some other notable men to join the campaign. This requires that they go online and sign up on the He for She page. We’ll bring some computers out, for men, some whom we’ve specially invited but also men coming through the Promenade generally and there will be volunteers encouraging men to come and sign up for the He for She campaign on the Promenade and of course they can do it from home as well.” The Network will also be releasing statements to the media from prominent men in T&T in support of He for She and in solidarity with the movement for gender equality in T&T.
Brown said, “We have asked people to take pictures of themselves in orange and put it on their social media profiles to show their support. For the He for She campaign, we have a target of 1,000 men to sign up, and we will be using social media as much as possible. There’s a global map on the He for She website,http://www.heforshe.org/, and if you click on a country, it shows the number of men who have already signed up. So far for T&T, there are under 150. We are trying to reach 1,000 or 1,500 by that day and we will try to incentive that, so we have some giveaways and tokens for the men who sign up.”
The Network will also be reaching out to male radio announcers to give their support for the campaign, give their own messages and talk about the issue of violence against women and girls, as “I think these men have a very powerful voice and people listen to them,” Brown stated.
Brown said the Network has also been engaging and preparing women over the last three years to be candidates for the local and national elections and so they will be “And we’ve always for each election created a Women’s Political Campaign Fund, which we will use to help to support the women candidates who have been part of our Network projects. Not just any woman, and we’ve said that over and over, the women who work with us and who we work with in the last year or two and many of them much longer than that, we will be presenting them with cheques which will represent our contribution to their campaign, and that is women across all of the parties.”
“We think this should be a very exciting day to have participation from people at all levels in the movement for gender equality in T&T, especially in relation to violence against women and girls, and we’re hoping to have the support of the public,” Brown stated.