The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu

Brussels goes orange as part of campaign to end violence against women

14:45 24/11/2021

Several landmarks in Brussels will be bathed in orange light on Thursday on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It is part of #OrangeTheWorld, 16 days of activism to focus attention on violence against women and girls in Europe and around the world.

The campaign is being run by UN Women and the United Nations in Western Europe and will see monuments and other public spaces turning orange on the day. In Brussels, the city hall in Grand Place, Manneken Pis and the Schuman round-a-bout, among other spots, will glow orange tomorrow.

“In 2021, Covid-19 exacerbated all the risk factors for violence against women and girls, including unemployment and poverty,” said the organisations in a statement. The pandemic also reinforced many of the root causes of gender-based violence, they say, “such as gender stereotypes and harmful social norms, causing a shadow pandemic of gender-based violence.”

No vaccine for violence

In Belgium, 98% of women state that they have been harassed in public spaces, while one in five report having been raped. Across the EU, one in three women reports having experienced physical and/or sexual violence, and one in 20 has been raped.

“In addition to the impact of COVID-19, the global context of violent conflicts and humanitarian crises –  including climate-related disasters – have a disproportionate impact on women and girls, perpetuating all forms of violence,” says the organisations.

Orange the World lasts until 10 December, Human Rights Day. Several events are taking place in Brussels, including film screenings and discussions and the conference Eliminating Violence Against Women – Where do we stand today?

The campaign “provides a powerful example of an EU and UN initiative to eliminate all forms of violence against women across the world,” say the organisations. “The shadow pandemic has not ended, and there is no vaccine against it.”


Written by Lisa Bradshaw