Hand in Hand Workers Center
“Walk a mile in her shoes” –
Men and women workers joined hands to eliminate violence against women
Shenzhen, China, 20 November 2011 – To celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 Nov), Hand in Hand Workers Center today organized “Walk a mile in her shoes” – its first activity of this kind – in Phoenix Square, Shenzhen.
An eye-catching red banner that read “Respect Women, No Violence!” was seen in the middle of the Square this Sunday afternoon, where a crowd of over one hundred gathered to talk about and take pictures of the banner. An even more striking picture, however, was behind the banner – over 50 men were marching in the square on their hot red 3-inch high heels. Without an apparent leader, they marched in high spirit while chanting “Men can also be gentle and virtuous; Women can hold up the sky”, “Domestic Violence Is Not a Domestic Matter”, “No More Silence, Voice Out Women!”. Although they were on their high heels for merely half an hour, they already felt like tortured and cried out in pain. Chen Honglin, one of the participating male workers, said, “Removing social restrictions on women is not only the women’s responsibility by asking them to become more self-confident and self-conscious. It’s also the men’s responsibility to support them.”
In the picture: Women workers holding placards against domestic violence, sexual harassment and verbal violence.
In the picture: Under the Phoenix Mountain, the male workers “wear her shoes and walk a mile together!
Besides the men-in-high-heels, there were also more than 20 women workers from the Hand in Hand Workers Center–all in handcuffs – who were in the front line of the parade. The handcuffs represented the social restrictions on women that prevented their liberation. The women workers had been a core part of the planning of this activity. One of them was disguised as a victim of domestic violence with torn clothes and bruises on her face while holding a placard that read “No to Domestic Violence”. She said, “Both man and woman are human beings. Why do we have to face discrimination and violence just because we are women? Why are we beaten by husband at home and sexually harassed while in the factory? We want to live free from violence! We want equal rights for all!” Other women workers held placards that read “No to Paternity Discrimination”, “Equal Wage for Man and Woman” and “No to Sexual Violence”.
After marching around the Phoenix Square, the women workers broke their “handcuffs” together to represent the liberation of women. The male workers also kicked off their high heels to signify the men’s effort to eliminate violence against women. The public were also invited to sign petition on the red banner to show their support for the elimination of violence against women. The crowd was very enthusiastic and it even included an elder supporter.
In the picture: The male workers kicked off their high heels to signify the elimination of control and violence against women.
In the picture: Participants and passersby signed their petition on the banner enthusiastically.
Wang Baoyu, spokesperson of Hand in Hand Workers Center, said, “By walking a mile with the women wearing the high heels, we wish that the men can try to think from a woman’s perspective and that the society will no longer ignore the disadvantages faced by women on this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Women face various forms of violence in their daily life. They are discriminated in the workplace and enjoy less career opportunity; they are often sexually harassed by their superior and dare not to complain; they have no option besides marriage and having children when they reach certain age; they have no means to justice when beaten. Through this activity, we wish to raise the society’s awareness of violence against women and wish to see a more comprehensive gender equality policy by the government.”
In the picture: Male and female workers standing together to fight violence against women.
Background information on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women was adopted by the United Nations in 1993. It was the first time a definition of violence against women was given, which is – any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. The same issue also became the main theme of the World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995 and was adopted to become an important part of its Platform for Action. In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960 of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo.
Introduction to the organizer
Hand in Hand Workers Center is a team of volunteers organized by a group of hearty workers. We share together the joy and pain in our work. We discuss together solutions to our hardship at work. We nurture the spiritual and cultural life of the workers. We believe that we can promote love and build a harmonious place together by supporting each other while we are long way from home. Besides basic labour rights, we also care about the situation and problems faced by women workers.
Organizer: Hand in Hand Workers Center
Contact: Ms Wang Baoyu
QQ Mini-blog: Hand in Hand Workers Center (a/c: sqs200710)