Transforming Valentine’s Day Into A Global Cause Movement

This week, Anne Fajon, member of Cone’s Sustainable Business Practice, explores how one organization harnessed a holiday once reserved for cards and candy to bring awareness to a major global issue.

This Valentine's Day, in a global grassroots movement organized by Eve Ensler, one billion women will demand an end to violence against women by…dancing. From Boston to LA, to Israel, Uganda, France and Russia, thousands of dance parties and flash mobs will take place as part of One Billion Rising, a new V-Day campaign.

One Billion Rising is uniting people across the globe to end violence against women. The campaign has garnered broad support, gathering testimonials from Anne Hathaway, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and two-time Superbowl champion defensive end Jarvis Green.

So how is One Billion Rising managing to shine a spotlight on an age-old issue?

  • It offers a simple, unifying message. As Natasha Walter said when she covered the campaign in The Guardian, "for too long the women's movement has not worked effectively across borders." But One Billion Rising is part of a new generation of campaigns effectively transcending continents, socio-political conditions and language barriers around women's and girls' issues with the rallying-cry: "Walk Out, Dance, Rise up, and Demand an end to this violence." Like Girl Up, a campaign of the United Nations Foundation that helps American girls connect with and help other girls in developing countries, One Billion Rising empowers us to make a difference for women everywhere.
  •  It provides an easy way for people to get involved. Want to plan a "rising"? There's a toolkit for that. Interested in joining a "rising"? You can search for one. And it's easy for individuals, groups and entire organizations to participate. As a result, an extensive list of partners are organizing these – from universities to local government organizations to corporate partners. They include cable television stations, like BRAVO and MTV, labor unions like ACLU and AFL-CIO, and big brands like BCBG MaxAzaria, Colgate Palmolive and ABC Carpet & Home.
  • It uses a beloved holiday as a unifying touchpoint. What better way to counter violence against women than with love? As a globally-recognized and celebrated holiday, Valentine's Day is the perfect day to celebrate women's rights and stand up against violence.  

With a goal of impacting a billion women, this movement has an awe-inspiring goal.  We can't wait to see the results.  In the meantime, where will you be dancing on Valentine's Day?

We encourage your thoughts and comments. Continue the conversation on Twitter by using #ConeCSR.


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