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#OrangetheWorld: the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

The UN campaign to eliminate the most widespread human rights violation takes place every 25 November. This year Palazzo Mattei, Eni's headquarters in Rome, will be lit up orange.

by Eni Staff
25 November 2020
6 min read
by Eni Staff
25 November 2020
6 min read

Orange Day: the world turns orange

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was established in 1999 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, with Resolution 54/134 of 17 December, and is held every year on 25 November. The day is also known as Orange Day because the colour orange is recognised across the world as that chosen by The United Nations Gender Equality Body, UN Women, to symbolise a future without violence against women. To mark the day, UN Women promotes the #OrangetheWorld awareness campaign and Eni is also taking part by lighting up the Palazzo Mattei building in Rome orange for the evening.

This date was chosen to commemorate the brutal killing of the Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic. On 25 November 1960, three women went to visit their husbands in prison when they were stopped on the road by military intelligence officers. They were tortured, massacred and then thrown off a cliff in their car to make it look like an accident. It was immediately obvious to the public that the Mirabal sisters had been murdered. The ensuing rebellion soon led to the death of the country’s dictator.


Women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence across the world. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary condition for a prosperous, sustainable and peaceful world.

Sustainable Development Goal No.5

“16 days of activism against gender-based violence”, in defence of human rights

Violence against women is not only a crime, it is the most widespread and pervasive human rights violation globally. There is a red thread that unites two equally significant and unforgettable anniversaries. On one hand, 25 November commemorates the fight against "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life" (UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women 1993); On the other, 10 December is the Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Between those two dates, the UN UNiTE campaign for the elimination of violence against women by 2030, launched in 2008, takes place. “Sixteen days of activism against gender-based violence", a global movement that gives shape to various solidarity causes and calls for reflection on what the UN has called “not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world”, namely gender equality.

Eni’s headquarters lit up orange in support of the #OrangetheWorld campaign

Gender equality is not only a human right, but also Goal 5 of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. The 17 SDGs have inspired our mission and guide our actions every day. A mission that confirms our commitment to an energy transition that is also socially just and organically integrates the 17 SDGs. This is made possible thanks to our people, their passion and the company's drive for continuous innovation, using diversity as a lever for development, respecting and promoting human rights and integrity in business management. We are taking part in the #OrangetheWorld campaign with an important symbolic gesture. On Wednesday, 25 November, from 6 p.m. to midnight, we will light up Eni’s headquarters in Rome, Palazzo Mattei, in orange. Eni joins the UN campaign #OrangeTheWorld with training initiatives and an internal communications project involving all Eni people, united against gender violence.

In perfect harmony with the principles and values that are the foundation of our work and our Code of Ethics, we have always been committed to respect for human rights in Italy and in all the countries where we operate worldwide, an approach that led us to publish the first "Eni for Human Rights" in 2019. The report, which included contributions from international experts and sector organisations, was updated last June and contains transparent and concrete information on our commitment to respect for human rights.

Gender equality is certainly among the rights that we are committed to defending in a practical way, by supporting equal opportunities projects that are a factor in community growth (HALO Trust - Angola "100 Women in Demining"), promoting equal pay (98% achieved) or by bringing girls into the technical and scientific subjects through various initiatives. As the UN says “Ensuring women and girls have equal access to education, health care and decent work, as well as representation in political and economic decision-making processes, will breathe new life into the sustainable economy, bringing large-scale benefits to society and humanity.”

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Gender-based violence during lockdown

This year has been scarred by the spread of Covid-19 and the consequent lockdowns imposed worldwide, so the theme of the UNiTE campaign has been dedicated to the effects the pandemic has had on domestic violence. This type of violence has increased as a result of forced cohabitation during lockdowns and the limited availability of facilities and programmes for victims. According to the Dossier Viminale (only Italian version), an annual report by Italy’s Interior Ministry, lockdown resulted in a threefold increase in the number of women being murdered, especially in the family environment.

Women have suffered on many fronts: economic, family and healthcare. We recently published a report looking at online conversations on the issue of gender equality during the lockdown period, titled Women and work: the pandemic exacerbates inequalities (only Italian version). Below is some of the data that can be derived from Google searches on "gender equality", around the world and in Italy.