Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Orange Day: Safe Schools for Girls

The twenty-fifth day of each month has been declared orange Day by UNiTE to raise awareness and sponsor or create initiatives aimed at combating gender violence and at highlighting advocacy, creating safe spaces for women and girls. This September 25 the focus is Safe Schools for Girls.

In July 2012, the UN Secretary-General's UNiTE campaign proclaimed that every 25th day of each month would be an Orange Day. Activities were launched around the world by United Nations offices and civil society organizations to raise awareness of and fight against violence against women and girls, bringing November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, into the daily lives of people around the world every single month.

Initiatives so far have included Safe Work Places for Women and Girls, Safe Homes for Women and Girls, Safe Custody and Care as Safe Spaces, Cyber Space as Safe Space for Women and Girls, Sexual Violence against Women and Girls in Conflict and this month's focus is Safe Schools for Girls.

Education is a human right and a powerful tool of empowerment, and schools are important spaces in which to build respectful relationships between boys and girls. Education can arm students with the skills and knowledge to develop livelihoods and learn about their rights, and to break cycles of poverty.  However, girls all over the world face violence and intimidation in, around, and on their way to and from school.

 Girls experience violence at the hands of fellow students, teachers, school administrators and others. They may face sexual harassment, bullying, cyber violence or may be asked for sexual favours in exchange for good grades or school fees. In some countries, the route to school may be unsafe. In others, girls are specifically targeted by violence simply for going to school to complete their education and for advocating for girls' education, as was the case for education and women's rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot on her way home from school in Pakistan in 2012.

Many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of the right to education; they are more likely to have caring responsibilities within their families and when resources are short, the education of male siblings may be prioritized. The failure to ensure girls are able to access their right to education has profound effects on individuals as well as wider society. For girls, lack of education has lifelong consequences, such as increasing the likelihood they will enter into situations of economic dependence in which their vulnerability to violence may be increased. For society at large, the transformative potential of girls' education is immense for the achievement of almost all development goals." UN Women

The 57th Session on the Commission of the Status of Women produced commitments by governments across the world to increase access to universal education and improve the safety of girls going to and coming from school. The right to education as a human right was underlined, as was the right to equal access to education and the elimination of illiteracy.

Regarding safe access on the journey to and from school, the need to improve the safety of women and girls was enshrined through commitments to improving transportation infrastructure, sanitation facilities, lighting and safe environments. Commitments were also made to implement national policies to prohibit and prevent violence against minors, especially girls.

Below UN Women outlines what YOU can do to take the initiative so that the world can come together and fight this scourge.

In support of the upcoming International Day of the Girl Child (11 October), this Orange Day, the UNiTE campaign will highlight 'Safe Schools for Girls'.
What can you do?

  • Reach out to your local schools and encourage teachers to engage with the issue of gender equality in their lessons. Share lesson plans and other resources on gender equality:
  • Are you aware of innovative initiatives to ensure that schools are a safe and violence free environment? Share information, photos and films @SayNo_UNiTE.
  • Young men: find out what you can do to contribute to efforts to end violence against women. Check out the White Ribbon Campaign's "10 things men can do to end violence against women":
  • Find out about UN Women and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts' upcoming joint programme for young people to stop violence against women and girls, Voices on Violence: Interested in running the programme? Please contact


  • On 25 Sep, #OrangeDay #UNiTE campaign says make schools safe for girls & increase girls' access to education.

Happy #OrangeDay! This month #UNiTE focuses on safe schools for girls. Involved in innovative local initiatives? Share them at @SayNo_UNiTE

  • Today is #UNiTE campaign's #OrangeDay! Is your school teaching children about #genderequality? Share lesson plans and other resources with teachers:
  • Today is #OrangeDay! Wear orange and #UNiTE to support girls' access to a violence-free education.
  • Today is #OrangeDay! The #UNiTE campaign calls on young men to take action to end #VAW. Find out what you can do.
  • Too many girls are denied access to #education because of #violence . #OrangeDay demands safe schools for girls!
  • What will you do to make schools safe for girls on 25/9? Take action on #OrangeDay :

Sample Facebook messages
1.    Today is #OrangeDay and the UNiTE campaign is highlighting Safe Schools for Girls. At CSW57 on ending violence against women and girls, governments committed to: "Improve the safety of girls at and on the way to and from school, including by establishing a safe and violence free environment by improving infrastructure such as transportation, providing separate and adequate sanitation facilities, improved lighting, playgrounds and safe environments; adopting national policies to prohibit, prevent and address violence against children, especially girls, including sexual harassment and bullying and other forms of violence, through measures such as conducting violence prevention activities in schools and communities, and establishing and enforcing penalties for violence against girls". Take action at
2.    The UNiTE campaign has declared the 25th of each month #OrangeDay and this month we are calling for all girls to have access to violence-free education. Are you involved in initiatives to improve the safety of girls at and on the way to and from school? Share them @SayNo_UNiTE. Find out what you can do to make schools safe for girls at
3.    Today - 25 September - is #OrangeDay, a day to highlight violence against women and girls. Share UNICEF's lesson plans and other resources on gender equality with your teachers:
Composed for Pravda.Ru by
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey