University of Florence takes a stand on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

11/25/2021 | by Irene Ghaleb | Florence Well-Being

Nearly 1 in 3 women are affected by violence in their lifetime. In times of crises, the numbers rise, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. To raise public awareness, the Universities of Florence and Cologne are setting a visible sign.

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today and goes largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it. Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development and peace as well as to the realisation of the human rights of women and girls. All in all, the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - to leave no one behind - cannot be fulfilled without putting an end to violence against women and girls. In general terms, VAWG manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, with significant negative impacts on their mental and emotional well-being.

Action day at the University of Florence 

The symbolic colours of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women are red and orange, and one of the most represented objects are red women's shoes, often lined up in squares or public places, to represent the victims of violence and feminicide.

To take a stand for the elimination of violence against women, the windows of the Rector's Office of the University of Florence have been lit up with red lights to remember the victims of gender-based violence. From sunset on Wednesday, November 24, until the following day, Thursday, November 25, the building in Piazza San Marco  will symbolically remain in the colour that represents a brighter future, free from violence against women and girls.

The Rector of the University of Florence, Alessandra Petrucci, kicked off the initiative by placing red shoes at the entrance to the Rector's Office. Also present were the University of Florence 's chancellors and delegates, including Vice Rector Giorgia Giovannetti.

 “Our symbolic gesture is intended to raise public awareness of this dramatic issue,” said the Rector.  “Violence against women is an arresting phenomenon that shocks and challenges consciences. And yet, respect for women and gender equality should have many facets, not only economic and social but also cultural and educational. And it is precisely in this area that the University can and must play a decisive role by leveraging the power of culture.”

United for a brighter future

The University of Cologne, too, will once again set a visible sign on this day and illuminate its main building in orange from 6 pm until midnight. Orange is the colour introduced by the United Nations as a symbol for a violence-free world for women. Many cities and organisations around the world are taking part.

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