Today marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and begins the 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

The annual days of action that aim to prevent, and eliminate, violence against women and girls around the world: calling for global action to increase awareness; promote advocacy; and create opportunities for discussion on challenges and solutions.

We know that in times of crisis or conflict levels of abuse worsen. As we start to rebuild from the pandemic and prepare for the aftermath, we must keep this in mind. A recent report from UN Women found that in the 13 countries which were part of the study during the pandemic, 2 in 3 women reported that they or a woman they know experienced some form of violence and are more likely to face food insecurity. It also highlighted that out of those who face abuse, only 1 in 10 women said they would reach out to police for help.

The report also highlights how third sector organisations, women’s rights activists and other support services across the UK have indicated increasing reports of domestic violence during this crisis and have seen an increased demand for emergency shelter.

As a city we have in years gone by led the way with the work we have done in combatting violence against women. I note the efforts of former Councillor Jim Coleman who, as Chair of the Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership, in 2015 saw Glasgow crowned a White Ribbon city, celebrating the work that was, and for the most part still is, being done by organisations across the city to support victims of domestic abuse. Earlier this year, Councillors came together to pass a cross-party motion which reaffirmed that every woman and girl has the right to walk our city’s streets without fear of violence and called on the council to consider the role we can play in tackling gender-based violence.

I also think of the bravery of some of my own colleagues from across the chamber who have been open about their own experiences. Particularly, Bailie Marie Garrity who recently shared her own story of domestic abuse involving an ex-husband, how it impacted her health and her self-esteem. But she also expressed her relief when she finally spoke to a colleague and got the support she needed. I’m proud to call Marie a friend and I have no doubt her honesty will help others.


It should be on all of us to redouble our efforts in tackling this evil in society, to listen to victims and work to eliminate violence against women in our city and across the globe.