What is White Ribbon Day? Events taking place across the UK to combat male violence

Refuge is calling for more education about the signs of domestic abuse  (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Refuge is calling for more education about the signs of domestic abuse (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The White Ribbon campaign is a global movement of men and boys who are working to put an end to male violence against women and girls.

It was formed by a group of pro-feminist men in Canada in 1991, with hopes of raising awareness, promoting healthy relationships, campaigning for gender equity, and creating a compassionate vision of masculinity.

They chose a white ribbon as their symbol, to represent men giving up their arms.

Every year in November, White Ribbon activists invite the whole world to come together and take a stance against male violence against women together.

Here is everything you need to know about the special day.

What is White Ribbon Day?

Every year, on November 25, the world celebrates White Ribbon Day, which is also United Nations’ Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

During the week leading up to the special day, men and boys are encouraged to wear white ribbons to show their opposition to violence against women and show solidarity.

This year, White Ribbon Day fell on the same week as the start of the World Cup, so the organisation has centred their campaign around the hashtag “#TheGoal”.

They have identified 11 traits, one for each player of a football team, that they are encouraging men and boys to follow to help our society achieve gender equality. These traits are:

  • Ally

  • Caring

  • Empathetic

  • Courageous

  • Gentle

  • Resilient

  • Reliable

  • Hopeful

  • Principled

  • Reflective

  • Supportive

Explaining the importance of these traits, White Ribbon shared: “If everyone were to focus on cultivating these traits, we believe existing harmful cultures would transform to become spaces where women and girls not only feel supported, but are free to thrive.”

These traits were selected after consulting with a group of men. The research led by masculinity and violence expert Dr Stephen Burrell amassed more than 70 traits that men believed to be important when it comes to ending violence against women and girls. The 11 traits that came up the most were selected among these.

The #TheGoal campaign will be present across train stations in England and Wales to remind commuters about the traits they can use to create a safer space both during their commute and the rest of their day.

Going with the football theme, White Ribbon has also collaborated with the female-led voluntary organisation HerGameToo, which works to foster an environment in football where women are equally welcomed and respected.

Various companies and councils are using the special occasion to spread awareness. Southwark council is among these. They have created a video that depicts how the world is from a woman’s or girl’s eyes.

What are White Ribbon Day marches and where are they taking place?

To mark the occasion, a series of marches, walks and vigils are held across the UK in the coming days between November 25 and December 10.

Here is a comprehensive look at all the planned gatherings.

25 November

  • Rotherham - Reclaim the Night walk 6 pm meeting at Clifton Park Museum

  • Inverness - Reclaim the Night march 6 pm at Falcon Square

  • Milton Keynes - Voice of Women MK torchlight vigil, at MK Rose Campbell Park, 4.30 pm

  • Oxford - Reclaim the Night march, Broad Street, 6.45 pm

  • Pontypridd, Cwm Taf White Ribbon Group, candlelight vigil, in the town centre, 5.30 pm

  • Aberdeen, Reclaim the Night march, St Nicholas Street, 5.30 pm

  • Edinburgh, Equally Safe Edinburgh Committee, candlelight vigil, Meadows Compass, North Meadow Walk, 6 pm

  • London - Million Women Rise Never Forgotten vigil, women and girls only event, outside Highbury and Islington Station, 6 pm

  • Stroud - Reclaim the Night march, Stratford Park 6.30 pm

  • Northampton - Reclaim the Night march, Co-op Car Park, Barry Road/Wellingborough Road, 6.30 pm

  • Tunbridge Wells - Reclaim the Night walk, from Rusthall to the Pantiles, 7.30 pm

  • Falkirk - Reclaim the Night walk, Forth Valley College, 3.30 pm

26 November

  • Liverpool - Remembering Liverpool’s Lost Women vigil, Derby Square, 5.30 pm

  • Belfast -Reclaim the Night march, Writers Square, 6.30 pm

  • Colchester - Reclaim the Night march, Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, 4.45 pm

  • Newcastle - Reclaim the Night march, Bigg Market, 6 pm

  • Peterborough - Reclaim the Night silent vigil, Cathedral Square, 6.30 pm

  • Derby - Reclaim the Night march, The Spot where St Peters Street, London Road and Osmaston Road meet, 7 pm

28 November

  • Dundee - Reclaim the Night march, Magdalen Green, 6.30 pm

30 November

  • Manchester - Reclaim the Night march, Owens Park 6.30 pm

1 December

  • Perth - Reclaim the Night march, St Pauls Church Square, 5.30 pm

  • Exeter - Reclaim the Night march, St Sidwell’s Community Centre, 6 pm

2 December

  • Reading - Reclaim the Night march leaving from Queens Walk, Oxford Road, 6.30 pm

6 December

  • Ayr - Reclaim the Night walk, University Avenue, 5.30 pm

9 December

  • Lancaster - Reclaim the Night march, Dalton Square, 7 pm

10 December

  • Teddington - torch walk, Landmark Arts Centre, 4.30 pm

  • Tiverton - Reclaim the Night march, Creativ Hub, Fore Street, 7 pm