SELF-defence classes, a conference on female genital mutilation and a street-based “celebratory get-together” will form part of Edinburgh’ s contribution to a 16-day global initiative aiming to end gender-based violence.

The United Nations Women’s 16 Days of Activism began on Saturday and leads up to Human Rights Day on December 10.

Events across Edinburgh will give women – and men – a platform to share their experiences, knowledge and opinions about the fight against gender inequality.

The campaign in Edinburgh is being spearheaded by staff at Edinburgh Napier University’s Changing Perceptions programme, along with support service Bright Choices, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Services and the University of St Andrews. A range of contributing partners – from third-sector organisations to statutory services – are also taking part.

The Edinburgh chapter was officially launched at a special event at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Over the next fortnight events creative workshops will aim to shine a spotlight on gender and ethnic stereotypes, sex and violence in gendered advertising, and the impact gender violence can have on mental health.

On Sunday December 3 a walk-about event in the city centre will “circulate positive messages about gender equality” and aims to “spread the joy of positive action”.

Edinburgh Napier itself will host a number of events as part of the campaign across its Merchiston and Sighthill campuses.

An International Bazaar – bringing together entrepreneurs and social enterprises from throughout Scotland to offer artisan gifts, local produce and food from throughout the world, will take place from 10am to 2.30pm today at Merchiston and tomorrow at Sighthill; a Mental Health Awareness Day will take place at Sighthill on Friday; and Jiu Jitsu self-defence workshops will be held at Merchiston this Saturday and next.

Kathryn Rezai, an associate lecturer in marketing at Edinburgh Napier, will host an interactive public seminar on “Challenging sex and violence in gendered advertisements” at the offices of Sacro in Edinburgh on December 4.

Nika Puri, Changing Perceptions project officer at Edinburgh Napier and part of the organising team for the Edinburgh chapter of the campaign, said: “It is truly amazing to see the university come together to work on the UN 16 Days campaign. Edinburgh Napier University is collectively fighting for the inclusion and empowerment of minorities, who are so often at a disadvantage.

“Through active citizenship and community engagement, the support of staff – in particular those of Bright Red Triangle, the School of Applied Sciences, and the School of Health and Social Care – and the passion and commitment of the students who want to engage, we have achieved a collaboration of massive influence bettering the lives of our communities.”

Professor Andrea Nolan, principal of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “Edinburgh Napier is delighted to be a major supporter of the Edinburgh Chapter of this campaign.

‘‘We pride ourselves on our diverse student body, based on equality and fairness. We encourage active citizenship, innovation and entrepreneurship through education and community engagement.

“The events of the 16 Days of Activism highlight issues, but also celebrate resilience and the ability to rise above a challenge.”

For full programme details see