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International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women

International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women

In 2009, Mexican artist Elina Chauvet introduced the powerful symbol of red shoes. Red shoes were initially intended as an art work that condemned femicide and the mistreatment of women. Since then, they have become a universal symbol for women’s rights and the struggle against gender-based violence. In 2009, artist Elina Chauvet exhibited 33 red shoes in Ciudad Juárez, a city with a high femicide rate. Each pair represents a story of fear, revealing the daily horror of femicide while showcasing the immense willpower to fight against it.

The symbolism is powerful: red, a color associated with both violence and passion, encapsulates the dichotomy of the struggle. The shoes, torn from those who would have liked to wear them, symbolize every woman’s journey from violence to freedom. Each pair tells a unique story, collectively building a common path to empowerment.

Traditionally a symbol of delicacy and charm, red shoes have been taken from those who wished to express their femininity freely. In Italy, they have transformed into a powerful symbol against femicide and violence targeting women.

As we approach November 25, let’s reflect on the symbolism of red shoes. They are not just a fashion statement but a powerful call to action, a call to end the violence, respect the beauty of every woman, and walk together towards a world free from fear and oppression. On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Italian squares welcome hundreds of red shoes. The silent march of red shoes has become a global symbol of protest and information. These empty shoes scream the agony, shame, fears, and condemnation of those who have said, “Enough.”

Article adapted from Italiani.

Featured Image by Alice Arcando


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Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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