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What is White Ribbon Day?

Movement promotes gender equality and encourages men and boys to re-examine their own attitudes in order to end violence against women

Joe Sommerlad
Friday 25 November 2022 16:50 GMT
The movement’s symbol is an emblem of peace and intended to signify opposition to misogynistic violence and to promote gender equality
The movement’s symbol is an emblem of peace and intended to signify opposition to misogynistic violence and to promote gender equality (Getty/iStock)

People across the world will observe White Ribbon Day on Friday 25 November by sporting white ribbons on their clothing to raise awareness of the problem of male violence against women.

The White Ribbon campaign was founded by a group of male feminists in Ontario, Canada, in November 1991 as a response to the horrific mass murder of 14 women at the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal in Quebec on 6 December 1989, an attack by misogynist terrorist Marc Lepine in which another 14 people, ten of them women, were also injured.

The movement’s symbol is an emblem of peace intended to signify opposition to gender violence and misogyny and to promote gender equality.

“Our mission is to prevent violence against women and girls by addressing its root causes,” the campaign explains.

“Our aim is to change long established, and harmful, attitudes, systems and behaviours around masculinity that perpetuate gender inequality and men’s violence against women. White Ribbon UK’s work is preventative, we want to end violence before it starts.”

This year, White Ribbon Day falls at the end of the first week of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar so the organisers have themed their latest campaign around football.

Known as “#TheGoal”, the iniative promotes 11 positive personality traits men and boys should seek to embrace and aspire towards if society is to realise true gender equality, one for every member of a football team. That means being:

  • An ally
  • Caring
  • Empathetic
  • Courageous
  • Gentle
  • Resilient
  • Reliable
  • Hopeful
  • Principled
  • Reflective
  • Supportive

“If everyone were to focus on cultivating these traits, we believe existing harmful cultures would transform to become spaces where women and girls not only feel supported, but are free to thrive,” White Ribbon states.

A number of Reclaim the Night marches are taking place across the UK on Friday, over the weekend and into next week in support of White Ribbon Day, details of which follow below.

25 November

  • Aberdeen - Reclaim the Night march, St Nicholas Street, 5.30pm
  • Edinburgh - Equally Safe Edinburgh Committee, candlelight vigil, Meadows Compass, North Meadow Walk, 6pm
  • Falkirk - Reclaim the Night walk, Forth Valley College, 3.30pm
  • Inverness - Reclaim the Night march 6pm at Falcon Square
  • London - Million Women Rise Never Forgotten vigil, women and girls only event, outside Highbury and Islington Station, 6pm
  • Milton Keynes - Voice of Women MK torchlight vigil at MK Rose Campbell Park, 4.30pm
  • Northampton - Reclaim the Night march, Co-op Car Park, Barry Road/Wellingborough Road, 6.30pm
  • Oxford - Reclaim the Night march, Broad Street, 6.45pm
  • Pontypridd - Cwm Taf White Ribbon Group, candlelight vigil, in the town centre, 5.30pm
  • Rotherham - Reclaim the Night walk 6pm meeting at Clifton Park Museum
  • Stroud - Reclaim the Night march, Stratford Park, 6.30pm
  • Tunbridge Wells - Reclaim the Night walk, from Rusthall to the Pantiles, 7.30pm

26 November

  • Belfast - Reclaim the Night march, Writers Square, 6.30pm
  • Colchester - Reclaim the Night march, Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, 4.45pm
  • Derby - Reclaim the Night march, The Spot where St Peters Street, London Road and Osmaston Road meet, 7pm
  • Liverpool - Remembering Liverpool’s Lost Women vigil, Derby Square, 5.30pm
  • Newcastle - Reclaim the Night march, Bigg Market, 6pm
  • Peterborough - Reclaim the Night silent vigil, Cathedral Square, 6.30pm

28 November

  • Dundee - Reclaim the Night march, Magdalen Green, 6.30pm

30 November

  • Manchester - Reclaim the Night march, Owens Park, 6.30pm

1 December

  • Exeter - Reclaim the Night march, St Sidwell’s Community Centre, 6pm
  • Perth - Reclaim the Night march, St Paul’s Church Square, 5.30pm

2 December

  • Reading - Reclaim the Night march leaving from Queens Walk, Oxford Road, 6.30 pm

6 December

  • Ayr - Reclaim the Night walk, University Avenue, 5.30pm

9 December

  • Lancaster - Reclaim the Night march, Dalton Square, 7pm

10 December

  • Teddington - torch walk, Landmark Arts Centre, 4.30pm
  • Tiverton - Reclaim the Night march, Creativ Hub, Fore Street, 7pm

For more information on events relating to White Ribbon Day 2022, please check out the organisation’s official website.

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