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The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence comes to an end today. But the movement to engage men and boys in combating violence against women is building momentum around the world. 

As we celebrate International Human Rights Day, we are honored to present the Vital Voices Solidarity Award to four men who have shown courage and compassion in advocating on behalf of women and girls. Our recognition of these men is important to me because violence against women is a human rights issue – not a women’s issue. 

Over the past 16 days, we have heard from women in our Global Leadership Network just how vital it is for men to raise their voices and join in the fight to end violence against women. We have also heard from the men themselves.

“Gender-based violence is not just a women’s issue; it is not just a men’s issue; it is a human rights issue. Men should write about it, talk about it, and share their views on it. Eradication of gender violence cannot take place without the participation of men.” –Luigi Laraia 

“Engaging men and boys in the conversation is extremely important because if we wish to see true change, the entire society has to reject certain cultural biases, stereotypes and attitudes.” –Elsa Marie D’Silva 

“It is so important to work with families rather than with one gender in order to develop a more holistic approach to ending gender-based violence.” –Adi Tafuna’i 

“Violence against women doesn’t just affect women – it affects society as a whole. It is important to listen to the voices of men and include them in the conversation about gender-based violence. We must stand together, united, in order to fight these injustices.” –Claudia Paz y Paz 

Today as I prepare to welcome guests to our Voices of Solidarity event in New York City, I am asking my fellow men to defend women’s human rights, demand nonviolence from one another and support Vital Voices by partnering with our women leaders who are fighting to create a world free from violence.