Orange Your Icon for 18 Days Advocacy Initiative

What is Orange Your Icon?

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) launched ORANGE YOUR ICON for 18 Days as one of the major activities during the 2015 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW), in solidarity with the United Nations’ UNiTE to End VAW Campaign.

Said activity aimed to strengthen the anti-VAW advocacy by enjoining new audiences to join the cause to end VAW. The idea is to attract the public’s curiosity on why major landmarks or iconsnationwide are colored orange, thereby providing opportunities for advocates to explain the Anti-VAW advocacy.

Why Orange?

As a bright and optimistic color, orange represents hope and a future free from violence against women and girls.

Promoting VAW-free Communities in the Tourism Sector

Tourism is considered as one of the most important sectors in the Philippine economy. Data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) shows that total earnings gained from tourism activities for the first half of 2016 amounted to an estimated Php 127.37 billion marking a 14.7% increase from Php 111.05 billion total earnings for the same period in 2015 (DOT, 2016).

Women make up between 60 to 70% of all workers in the tourism industry (ILO, 2013). Although the tourism industry has created economic opportunities especially for women, it has also poised negative effects concerning women’s human rights. Women can become vulnerable and sadly, become victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking – which forms part of the larger social issue referred to as Violence Against Women (VAW).

Apart from efforts to address the needs of victim-survivors of VAW, the Philippine Government also works on VAW prevention where advocacy is significant. One of the regular advocacy programs is the annual observance of the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW from 25 November to 12 December. With the theme “VAW-Free Community Starts with Me”, the 2016 campaign enjoins everyone to pursue the common vision of a VAW-free community and gives emphasis on everyone’s commitment and contributions in ending VAW.

DOT actively supports the collective effort to pursuing the vision of a VAW-free community by steering tourism sector involvement in the advocacy. Thus, DOT partnered with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) for the Orange Your Icon for 18 Days Advocacy Initiative, one of the major highlights of the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW. This advocacy initiative aims to raise awareness and consciousness in ending VAW through “oranging” famous and prominent tourism sites or attractions in the country. This creative advocacy effort also hopes to convey a message that the DOT together with its stakeholders in the industry encourages gender-responsiveness in Philippine tourism, which among others endeavors to promote safe and non-exploitative tourism activities.

Our Goal

  • Promote community and tourism sector involvement in sharing the vision of a violence-free community
  • Promote national and local tourism sites and landmarks alongside the campaign for fostering VAW-free communities
  • Ensure convergence of efforts of the tourism industry in their roles in ending VAW

What We Envision?

Philippine tourism destinations that are free from street and public places harassment
The Philippines will have world-class tourist destinations where people are respectful to the rights of women and girls and are safe from all forms of violence. We want our tourists to enjoy and experience the country’s rich culture and traditions without worrying over the safety and security both of visitors and the local community.

Philippine tourism destinations that are free from prostitution, sexual exploitation of women and children, and human trafficking
The Philippines will be known for its natural wonders, historical landmarks, culture and tradition, arts and crafts, shopping, food and delicacies, recreation and entertainment, among many others. We want to promote the Philippines positively as we take measures to keep our tourist destinations from exploitation of persons in human trafficking, including prostitution and unfair practices.

Gender-responsive Philippine tourism
The Philippines will be a model for gender-responsive tourism. We commit ourselves working on ending stereotypical images of women as part of tourism products. We will portray women with pride and honor in our advertisements and we will encourage our private sector partners to ensure that gender sensitivity will be incorporated in their respective internal guidelines and policies. 

How Can the Tourism Sector Contribute to the Vision of VAW-free Community

Community Leaders / Public Officials / Duty-bearers

  • Lead in advocating for a gender- responsive tourism industry
  • Ensure that anti-VAW mechanisms are in place in their communities
  • Inclusion of women’s concerns in local tourism development plans
  • Strongly discourage advertising and marketing strategies that use stereotypical images of women or portray women as sexual objects

Training Institutions

  • Incorporate concepts of respect for human rights, gender and culture sensitivity, and sensitivity to specific needs of clients (e.g. persons with disabilities, medical conditions, breastfeeding mothers) as core components of customer relations management and other training programs for relevant tourism-related services (e.g. hotels, tour guides, transportation services, travel agencies).

Hotels / Restaurants / Private Establishments

  • Ensure the safety of women clients and workers from sexual and other forms of harassment
  • Develop marketing and promotional materials and ads that are gender sensitive and highlights your facilities and services

Media and Advertising Practitioners

  • Help promote the Philippines and local establishments for natural wonders and other tourist attractions, positive Filipino culture and tradition, world-class arts and trade
  • Highlight more positive, realistic portrayals of women and children in news reporting, features and editorials, advertising and marketing campaigns and collaterals

Tourists and Individuals from our Local Communities

  • Be a partner in advocating our campaign to end VAW
  • Be a part of the growing number of individuals who vow to: never commit VAW; never condone VAW; and never remain silent about VAW

How Can Other Organizations Participate?

  • Find major landmarks or icons in your area or community. Your icon can be historical places, statues, monuments or buildings.
  • Talk to heads of your agency, local government, corporate heads or building administrators to get support and ensure that they are willing to join this global activity for a cause.
  • Put orange decorations on your chosen icon. You can use flags, streamers or banners. You can even paint your landmark into orange if possible or use orange spotlights during the night! Be creative!
  • Orange Your Icon banner, which can be in printed in tarpaulin or sintra board, shall be displayed where the icon is located throughout the campaign period. The design and specifications can be downloaded here.
  • Participating agencies or local government units may develop information, education and communication (IEC) materials related to the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW that can be given out or made visible to people visiting the area.
  • We’d love to know how you ORANGEd YOUR ICON for 18 Days! Upload photos, videos and reports featuring your oranged icons and other 18-Day Campaign to End VAW activities to your official websites for everyone to know that you are part of this global campaign. Do not forget to use the official hashtag for this year’s campaign #VAWfreePH. Please send us a link to your site to so we can check them out! Creative “orange” photos and relevant campaign activities will be featured in the PCW website and social media accounts.