White Ribbon Day 2022: what is it, when did it start, what happens on day, where are UK marches taking place?

White Ribbon Day and International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women takes place on 25 November

White Ribbon Day is taking place on 25 November and is the start of an awareness campaign lasting just over two weeks. White Ribbon Day is taking place on 25 November and is the start of an awareness campaign lasting just over two weeks.
White Ribbon Day is taking place on 25 November and is the start of an awareness campaign lasting just over two weeks.

People around the world are set to mark White Ribbon Day on Friday (25 November), which coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The awareness day is the start of 16 days of activisim against gender-based violence.

The annual campaign runs through to International Human Rights Day on 10 December and is supported by the UN. It sparks hundreds of events around the world in a bid to raise awareness of violence against women and girls.

The concerns and discussions around women’s safety continues, and according to data from the World Health Organisation one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. A new UN study, meanwhile, has said that of the 81,000 women and girls intentionally killed last year, 45,000 – around 56%, and on average more than five woman and girls an hour– died at the hands of intimate partners or other family members.

A range of events including marches and vigils - many by the Reclaim the Night movement - are taking place over the next two weeks across the UK to highlight the campaign.

What is White Ribbon Day?

The movement started in Ontario, Canada in 1991 in response to the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre of 14 female students by Marc Lépine. The campaign was intended to raise awareness about the frequency of male violence against women, with the ribbon symbolising “the idea of men giving up their arms.” The work done by the group, which is active in 60 countries worldwide, including the UK, aims to prevent gender-based violence.

As this year’s the awareness day is taking place at the same time as the World Cup the theme has been called #TheGoal, with the White Ribbon Day site stating: “There is never a better time for us to focus on the good that can come from unifying and supporting one common cause. #TheGoal does just that, it brings men and boys together to think about how they can make a positive difference to achieve equality and safety for women and girls.”

What is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women?

The day was designated by the UN General Assembly with a view to raising awareness of violence against women across the world. The date is related to the 1960 assassinations of the three Mirabal sisters, who were political activists in the Dominican Republic who opposed dictator Rafael Trujillo.

In 1981 Latin American and Caribbean feminists marked the day to combat and raise awareness of violence against women, and the date was officially recognised by the UN in 2000. This year’s UN Secretary-General UNITE campaign is calling upon governments to show their solidarity to women’s rights movements and activists.

A series of marches, walks and vigils are taking place across the UK over the next two weeks to mark the campaign and raise awareness. Those being held from 25 November to 10 December are:

25 November

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

26 November

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

28 November

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

30 November

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

1 December

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

2 December

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

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