The Australian Consulate-General in Noumea marked White Ribbon Day with an open invitation to the public to tie a ribbon on the chancery fence as a gesture of support for the elimination of violence against women. Post also organised two events focused on engaging the community and youth on the shared challenge of gender-based violence.
A morning tea hosted by the Consul-General on 25 November allowed an open conversation by bringing together a range of contacts including representatives of the French High Commission, Congress and the Government of New Caledonia, Provinces, consular corps, police, justice and education authorities, as well as civil society and associations. At the forefront of this event were 25 women participating in the New Caledonian Government’s 100 Women in Leadership training initiative to build competencies and foster female leadership.
Youth was also a focus, in recognition of the importance of education in the prevention of gender-based violence through shaping values, attitudes and behaviours.
More than 60 primary and high school students from three different schools visited the Consulate-General on 24 November for a conversation with the Consul-General about violence against women. During a lively question and answer session, students actively engaged with the issue; topics covered included the causes of gender-based violence, and what the students could do to effect change.
At the end of the week, the Chancery fence was adorned with hundreds of white ribbons tied by leaders, youth, local authorities and, importantly, passers-by from the general community of Noumea. This public display of support (and the media coverage) has generated a conversation which will contribute to breaking the silence around gender-based violence, in support of the Australian Government’s commitment to ending violence against women.