Men took to Twitter using the hashtag “count on me” to show support for Women’s International Day and ending violence against women around the world.
The UN Women for Peace Association (UNWFPA) launched the campaign to encourage men and boys to play a role in halting violence towards women.
Influencers and government officials in Saudi Arabia used their accounts to send messages of support for the campaign using the Arabic for “count on me” as a hashtag.
Abdullah Al-Tayer, director general of the cabinet and chief adviser to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which is based in Jeddah, said on Twitter: “International Women’s Day means, for me, the future for my daughters Lama and Rand.
“I start with them and all women saying ‘count on me’ in supporting your empowerment and advocating for your affairs, pledging to support your safety and respect for you everywhere. Condemning any violence that affects women inside or outside of their homes.”
International Women’s Day, which was on Monday, comes as Saudi Arabia continues to take historic steps to empower and support women in the Kingdom as part of the Vision 2030 reform program.
Fahad Nazer, a spokesperson for the Saudi embassy in Washington, said: “As we reflect on International Women’s Day I think it’s heartening to see Saudi men not only celebrating the important achievements of the women in their lives but also by taking public pledges to protect and support women and by supporting initiatives like the global virtual campaign that is being launched by the UN Women for Peace Association to engage men and boys as partners in the fight to end violence against women and girls.”
The UNWFPA campaign aims to target deep-rooted gender-based violence that can be caused through hypermasculinity, destructive forms of socialization or generational biases.
The project believes that the best way to create a positive change is by working together to equally accomplish one mutual goal, the protection of women and girls from violence globally.
Reported cases of violence against women have increased by 40 percent since the coronavirus pandemic sparked global lockdowns across the world.
Abdullah Al-Nassar, a Twitter user, was among dozens of men using the Arabic hashtag to play his part in sending the message.
“I recognize that men and boys play an important role in changing the way women and girls are treated,” he said, quoting the UNWFPA pledge.
“I am committed to the safety, respect and empowerment of women and girls everywhere. I denounce gender-based violence and resolve to actively show my support for gender equality in my daily life.”
The campaign will continue through the month of March and will end in June.