Much Ado About Purple

As you can tell from the elegant shades of eggplant, lavender and violet that appear on everything from t-shirts to candles to posters every October, November and December– a period that covers Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women and 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence – purple is a very significant colour for activists and groups involved in women’s issues.

Purple has a long history of being associated with the women’s movement and is frequently used in the colour schemes of organisations working to end violence against women or to support women who have been abused.

Purple was one of the three colours originally used by the women’s suffrage movement in the United Kingdom. In 1908 the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) adopted a colour scheme of purple, white, and green. Purple symbolised dignity, self-reverence and self-respect. White symbolised purity (also a symbol used by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union). Green was used as a sign of hope.

In the U.S. gold and yellow were the first colours used by the women’s suffrage movement, but they soon added purple and white into the mix (with gold signifying enlightenment). Purple, white, green  and gold are now associated with the modern women’s movement, being seen most notably during the 1978 march in Washington, D.C. in support of the Equal Rights Amendment, in which women wore white with sashes of purple, green and gold.

The Pixel Project’s signature ribbon incorporates both purple and white to signify men and women working together to end violence. The white ribbon came to symbolise men’s involvement when the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) was founded in Canada. WRC was created in response to the 1989 Montréal Massacre in which a man shot and killed 14 female engineering students because they were “a bunch of feminists.”

So, there, in a nutshell is why The Pixel Project created and named our annual Paint It Purple campaign so and why the campaign spans October and runs until 24 November – the eve of the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women as well as the 16 Days of Activism.

Through this campaign, we rally the global community to raise awareness about all forms of violence against women by painting the internet purple using everything from special campaign badges to photoshopping themselves purple to contributing blog posts to our Paint It Purple blog carnival to recording PSAs of themselves, dressed in purple, standing up to say NO to violence against women.

The campaign also raises funds for The Pixel Project and participating VAW nonprofits worldwide via “Paint It Purple” parties and bake sales held by The Pixel Project, VAW nonprofits, and grassroots groups. The bake sales and parties feature cupcakes with The Pixel Project’s signature ribbon. This year, bakeries and cupcakeries are also invited to independently sign up to hold ‘Paint It Purple’ bake sales.

By making Paint It Purple a fun, creative and inclusive campaign that anyone can become involved with, we hope to further galvanise widespread support and momentum for action to end gender-based violence which continues to affect millions of women and girls worldwide.

For more information about the Paint It Purple campaign, visit our Paint It Purple campaign website at



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