DUBAI, 26 November 2021 – The UN Women’s ‘Orange the World’ initiative for 2021 took a major step forward this evening, as nations came together on the Jubilee Stage at Expo to urge world leaders to make a stand in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment, and in particular to end gender-based violence.
Dignitaries of the New Zealand Pavilion, India Pavilion, Women’s Pavilion and the United Nations at Expo spoke at the event, which also included a screening of India’s National Award-winning documentary, ‘Son Rise’, by director and producer Vidha Bakshi. The 45-minute film showcases ordinary men who are taking on the ‘extraordinary’ fight against patriarchy, and changing the narrative on gender injustice globally.
Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs for New Zealand, speaking via video, said: “Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to improving gender equality. One hundred and twenty-eight years ago, we became the first country to grant women the right to vote, and in 2018 we passed major legislation to keep family violence victims safe and hold perpetrators accountable. Our National Action Plan on Human Rights also addresses family violence as a human rights issue. Today, we have an opportunity here at Expo 2020 Dubai to come together and form meaningful partnerships that can positively impact global action and change in the pursuit of gender equality and justice.”
Dr Aman Puri, Consul General of India in Dubai and Deputy Commissioner General of India at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “We are proud to join the presentation of the highly-acclaimed and Indian National Award-winning documentary ‘Son Rise’ at Expo 2020 Dubai. I congratulate Vibha Bakshi for bringing forward extraordinary tales of courage and strength, and helping raise awareness on women empowerment at this global platform.”
Hind Alowais, Senior Vice President, Participant Management, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The Women’s Pavilion by Expo 2020, in collaboration with Cartier, is proud to support the screening of ‘Son Rise’, reaffirming Expo’s commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment. By welcoming visitors from across the planet and from every walk of life, Expo 2020 Dubai is a unique and powerful platform that will drive the necessary attention to this issue.”
Maher Nasser, United Nations Commissioner General for the UN Presence at Expo 2020 Dubai, added: “Violence against women and girls is a global reality from which no country is immune. Violence is driven by the erroneous notion that women and girls are not equal to their male counterparts, and do not deserve the same opportunities, rights, dignity, and control over their own bodies and reproductive health. Vibha Bakshi’s ground-breaking film, ‘Son Rise’, flips this narrative by showing the strength of ordinary men to counter harmful ideologies and practices, with new ideas that have the power to ignite an extraordinary global movement for change.”
The film is also being shown across 71 countries as part of the UN’s #HeForShe global movement to engage men in removing the social and cultural barriers that prevent women and girls from achieving their potential.
Vibha Bakshi said: “I am deeply inspired to see the world unite at Expo 2020 Dubai, and come together in solidarity for gender equality. This momentous event led by the incredible commitment of New Zealand, India, the United Nations and Women’s Pavilion is a solid step towards a safer and more equitable world. I am confident that every audience member present at this global platform is our future Ambassador of Change.”
The UN Women’s ‘Orange the World’ initiative comprises 16 days of activism, running from 25 November-10 December (from International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women to Human Rights Day), and amplifies the call for global action to end gender-based violence. The initiative has been organised annually since 1991. According to UN Women, all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, have increased since the pandemic.