16 Days of Activism

Break the Silence – 16 Days of Activism Against Violence 2022

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.

Every year, Global Neighbourhood for Media Innovation joins the international community in advocating to create safe spaces for women. Every year, our campaign focuses on a specific theme. This year’s campaign called attention to women who were attacked for their gender and were murdered by a family member. We also educated our audience about SOPs and best practices when dealing with a GBV case a lawyer, journalist, and/or interviewer. It also contained details on first response as a survivor and support services to contact. The full campaign can be viewed here.

As a culmination of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, GNMI hosted a roundtable discussion on ending violence against women and girls, especially online, with journalists, social media activists, legal and gender experts. The program aimed to navigate the challenges and solutions to protecting the safety of women, both online and offline.

The roundtable included founder GNMI and media development professional, Najia Ashar; media educationist Kaif Ghaznavi, legal experts Zarin Khwaja and Farah Khan, gender expert and journalist Lubna Jerar, social media influencer Roomana Anjum, and trainer Sonal Dhanani. Lubna Jerar recapped the discussion and relayed the recommendations gathered.

The complete working paper including the experts’ recommendations is available here .

The discussion revealed that patriarchy plays a “huge role” in Pakistani society when it comes to violence against women and girls.

“Even women’s empowerment in our society is controlled and considered something that can be given or taken by men,” said social media influencer Roomana Anjum.

Elaborating her views, Anjum added that during the Lyari Operation in the early 2010s, she witnessed how women were stationed outside each house to protect their family and deemed it “empowering”.

“The catch was that even this was ‘controlled empowerment’, because the men were permitting their women to assume that power position. And this is what we still see in our families. It’s always a man that gives their wife, daughter or sister the ‘permission’ to be empowered,” she said.

Farah Khan, a legal expert, spoke about the issues with the justice system when concerning a victim or survivor of GBV. “The problem with our society is that we need a victim to look like a victim. This means a victim needs to cry, have visible bruises, etc., in order for them to be believed. And a dead body is the biggest evidence,” she said, adding that a victim has to lose their life just to be heard or taken seriously.

Another lawyer, Zarin Khwaja commented on the lack of a proper legal framework in Pakistan and how most of the country’s law is copied from international law. “There are significant shortcomings in our legal system. One example is that I once spent 25 years lobbying and pushing for a law which got implemented only because it suited a party’s agenda. And yet, this law was copy-pasted from some other country, which does not even acknowledge the cultural aspects,” she said.

Zarin added that her effort, however, garnered no response because she had to lobby again to have the said law amended.

Media educationist Kaif Ghaznavi, during the discussion, talked about cyber harassment and mentioned that parents are children’s biggest allies, no matter how difficult of a situation they might find themselves in. “Children need to give their parents more credit and trust them enough to open up to them. In most cases, your parents will likely understand and provide the help you need,” Kaif said.

Najia Ashar, GNMI’s founder and media development professional, highlighted the significance of 16 Days of Activism and her organisation’s work toward preventing and eliminating GBV.

“Every year GNMI runs extensive campaigns to highlight the issue of gender-based violence, educate our audience, and conclude it with a discussion as such to culminate it and search for solutions to the problems and challenges of gender-based violence,” Najia said.

To check the details of the event, please refer to this working paper.



In line with UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism that runs every year from 25th November to 10th December, Global Neighborhood for Media Innovation engaged in a campaign to create safe spaces for women in journalism. The campaign was centered around 16 women journalists – with 4 additional journalists for extra measure – who were invited to share their thoughts on gender-based violence (GBV), prejudice, discrimination, harassment, and violence in the newsroom and in the media industry.

In collaboration with UN Women Pakistan, GNMI’s social media campaign consisted of women journalists’ experiences, thoughts, and recommendations to counter GBV through social media posts shared every day between the 16-days-of-activism timeline. These posters held quotes by leading women journalists in Pakistan including Asifa Idrees, Asma Shirazi, Bushra Iqbal, Bushra Qamar, Diya Rehman, Kiran Qasim, Rabia Bugti, Sehrish Khokhar, Sidra Dar, Xari Jalil, and Zofeen Ibrahim shared on all GNMI social media platforms.

Experiences, thoughts, and recommendations to counter GBV shared by women journalists shared on GNMI’s social media platforms.

As part of the collaboration, UN Women Pakistan posted posters with quotes of women journalists including Afia Salam, Amber Raheem Shamsi, Annie Shirazi, Ayesha Khalid, Gharida Farooqi, Lubna Jerar Naqvi, Nadia Naqi, Sheema Siddiqui, and Urwa Ahmed shared on all UN Women Pakistan social media platforms.

The campaign culminated into a program titled Ending GBV Against Women and Girls: Perils & Aspirations of Women Journalists held at the University of Karachi on 7th December wherein a panel of leading journalists in the media industry came together to highlight the issues that female journalists face in their professional circles, the challenges threatening their professional success, how to combat any gender-based issues both in personal and professional setups and how male counterparts can play a role in diminishing GBV.

Led by GNMI’s Founder and President, Najia Ashar, the panel included leading names in the media industry including Afia Salam, Aleena Farooq Shaikh, Nadia Naqi, Nasira Zuberi, Nusrat Haris, and Uzma Al-Karim.

The experts covered women’s role and representation in the traditional and digital news media industry to counter GBV, the underrepresentation of women in media in correlation to GBV, media’s role in making an equal and just society, GBV reporting in current affairs, and its impact on society, how media can change its sensational style coverage of GBV into responsible coverage, and policy and governance reforms in media organizations to end GBV.

Some special guests were also invited to the program including GNMI’s secretary-general, Lubna Jerar Naqvi, and the University of Karachi’s Dean Faculty of Pharmacy, Dr. Fayaz Vid. The event was also joined virtually by UN Women Pakistan’s Deputy Country Representative, Jacqui Ketunuti, and Portfolio Manager EVAW, Governance, and Human Rights, Saman Ahsan.

Through the campaign, GNMI generated discourse among the journalist community and media industry regarding the pressing problem of GBV in media specifically and society in general. Additionally, masses on digital media were engaged through the campaign and educated about the struggles of women in media.

With programs as such, GNMI hopes to give rise to a more inclusive journalistic community that continues to strive to create safe spaces for women in media to address GBV issues.


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