Leeds lights up orange to mark start of 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women and girls: Light up orange

23 Nov 2023

Leeds lights up orange to mark start of 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women and girls

Safer Leeds Public safety Charities and third sector Domestic violence

People across Leeds are being encouraged to get involved in White Ribbon Day and the 16 Days of Activism, an annual international campaign that calls for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

White Ribbon Day falls on the 25 November and invites men especially to make a promise to never use, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. The day is the start of the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, ending on the 10 December.

To mark the beginning of the 16 days, civic buildings in Leeds will be lit up orange on the 25 November, as encouraged by UN Women, to represent a future free from violence against women and girls.

On the same day (25th), the Woodhouse Moor parkrun, starting at 9am, will be White Ribbon-branded. The charity White Ribbon UK, alongside councillors, will be there to give out ribbons, campaign materials and cake to promote the campaign to an expected 500 runners.

The White Ribbon parkrun highlights the need for women to be able to run and exercise without the fear of violence. Many women feel unsafe running alone or in the dark and parkrun events provide a friendly and safe environment for women to run.

On the 30 November, the Reclaim the Night march returns to Leeds, where people join together to send a message that women want to feel safe whenever they are out and about in the city, including at night.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Al Garthwaite, helped set up the first Reclaim the Night march in 1977 and she will be leading the march on the 30 November with anyone wanting to join gathering at the Town Hall steps from 6pm. The march will set off at 6.30pm and end back at the starting point.

Leeds City Council is White Ribbon accredited, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to ending violence against women and girls, having launched several safety initiatives. One of these is a partnership with the WalkSafe App, a free app promoting safe walking at night in the city.

Users of the app can also find registered ‘safe spaces’, such as businesses signed up to the Ask for Angela scheme and the Women’s Night Safe Space (mobile bus), a support resource launched in 2022.

Local events and activities are also planned around the city during the 16 days.

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council's executive member for resources with responsibility for Safer Leeds, said: “Every single woman and girl in Leeds deserves to feel safe and be safe in our city. We’re proud to have White Ribbon accreditation and it is so important that as many men as possible become allies to say that they will not stand by and accept violence against women and girls.,

“The Reclaim the Night movement has its roots in Leeds and it’s an important annual march to demonstrate that women need and deserve to feel safe in our city any time of the day or night.

“White Ribbon Day and 16 Days of Activism is a great opportunity for people to get involved and show their support for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. We need to be absolutely clear that any form of violence is not accepted in Leeds.”

Councillor Julie Heselwood, Women's Champion, said: “It’s great to see people across the city getting involved in this campaign and we’re pleased to offer many different activities for this important cause, and to get men involved in the conversation.

“If you usually run the parkrun or want to do this as your first, please come along to Woodhouse Moor on Saturday 25 November and show your support. If you have a white ribbon already, please wear it!”

Anthea Sully, CEO of White Ribbon UK, said: "I am really pleased to be able to join one of the Leeds parkruns on White Ribbon Day. I grew up in Leeds at a time when women felt especially scared to be out alone at night.

“Leeds City Council are working to make streets in Leeds safer by providing support for women and working with men to recognise and challenge harmful behaviours when they happen so violence is prevented before it starts."

Follow Leeds City Council’s social media accounts for updates throughout the 16 days.


The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that commences on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, International Human Rights Day. The campaign spans these 16 days to highlight the link between abuse and violence against women and human rights. 

White Ribbon Day is also marked on 25th November and the start of the 16 Days of Activism. On White Ribbon Day everyone, but especially men, is invited to make the White Ribbon Promise. That is: to never use, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. White Ribbon began in 1991 to engage men in the prevention of violence.

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team