This year the 16 Days of Activism campaign continues to highlight specific Sustainable Development Goals through its Orange Days theme.

Sustainable Development Goal number 5 commits to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Gender equality is a fundamental human right. Most importantly it is a necessary foundation for an equal and sustainable world free from violence. Effective mainstreaming of gender equality should cut across all policies and areas of life: providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, equal pay, eradication of homelessness and poverty, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes.

In mainstreaming gender equality, it is critical that we take intersectional approaches recognising not only the diversity of women but also the diversity of social locations, privileges and histories of their oppression and silencing. The theme of the 2017 “Leave no one behind” offers an opportunity for all of us to spotlight the consequences of violence against women and girls within the most marginalised groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women from refugee and migrant backgrounds, women with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTIQ, and many more. It offers us the opportunity to reflect on our advocacy and work more strongly towards solutions.