Building on decades of activism, protests against gender-based violence quickly spread across the region during COVID-19. Many of these protests took place under the transnational banner of ‘Ni Una Menos’ (Not One [Woman] Less), a long-running movement in the region against femicide.
And the call for action paid off, with Latin American and Caribbean governments taking the highest number of government measures to address gender-based violence of any region in the Global South during the pandemic, reflecting the persistent feminist advocacy both on the streets and within institutions.
The rise in gender-based violence protests in Northern Africa and Western Asia region was led by Türkiye, amidst the country’s consistently high rates of femicide (with the We Will Stop Femicides Platform counting 280 femicides just in 2021) and its simultaneous rollback of legislation designed to protect women from violence. When the Government announced its withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention in March 2021, women’s and LGBTIQ+ organizations took to the streets in widespread protests.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa accounted for almost half (47%) of all protests against gender-based violence across the region. In Nigeria, the country with the next-highest number of gender-based violence protests, demonstrations were organized by a wide array of women’s groups, including students, market workers, lawyers and medical personnel.