It was a day when people in 70 countries across the world took a common but unusual step: They 'oranged' their neighbourhoods to call for an end to violence against women. Iconic landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the UN Secretariat Building in New York as well as the Sphinx and Pyramids of Egypt in Giza lit up with an orange glow-public pronouncements that no one who walked by could ignore.
Posters, painted walls and orange clothing signaled hope for a brighter future without violence and a gesture of solidarity in response to a call by the United Nations Secretary-General's UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, managed by UN Women. Earlier in 2014, UNiTE took another opportunity to appeal to mass audiences. With the eyes of the world on the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the campaign distributed a million stickers proclaiming O valente não é violento ("The brave are not violent").
Newly appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson galvanized global attention when she launched UN Women's HeforShe campaign to engage men and boys in advancing gender equality. She rallied her immense global fan base to engage in a conversation that has reached 1.2 billion people through social media. More than more than 300,000 have registered their support for ending discrimination against women through an app.
At the World Economic Forum in early 2015, with an audience of prime ministers and CEOs, UN Women unveiled HeForShe Impact 10x10x10. It engages governments, corporations and universities as champions of gender equality, calling on leaders within these arenas to use their power and influence for change. Turkey's top industrial conglomerate, Koc Holding, took quick action with a commitment to provide gender sensitization training for 100,000 people across the country by 2020, reaching out to communities through its extensive network of suppliers and dealers. It has sponsored a national HeForShe campaign with a blizzard of prominent advertisements and continuous social media messaging. HeForShe activism across Africa includes endorsement by the Presidents of Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Malawi's President also signed on, as did all members of the Cabinet and Parliament, while Paramount Chief Kyungu agreed to use his significant culture clout in advocating against harmful traditional practices. Gilberto Macuacua, a well-known media personality in Mozambique, is using his television programme and blog to get people talking about fighting violence against women
In the Arab States, an unprecedented campaign kicked off in 2015 in partnership with advertising agency Impact BBDO Dubai. It cleverly overturned a longstanding social prohibition against publicly pronouncing "Your Mother's Name." A campaign video with clips of men on the street in Egypt abashedly explaining why they cannot say it sparked debate across the region; some social media users took to the web to proudly share their mother's names. The video has received almost 5 million views across different online channels.