MONTREAL -- The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Monday kicked off 16 days of activism to shed light on the issue.

The Canadian campaign, called 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, runs through Dec. 10, which is International Human Rights Day.

This year's campaign also coincides with the 30th anniversary on Dec. 6 of the Polytechnique Massacre, in which gunman Marc Lepine shot and killed 14 women who were studying at the École polytechnique de Montréal. (Lepine, who also killed himself, targeted his victims because they were women.)

Isabelle Charest, the Quebec minister responsible for the status of women, said Monday that "in Quebec as in the rest of the world, women and girls remain the primary victims of sexual assault, sexual exploitation and conjugal violence."

"Despite significant gains in terms of equality between women and men, there is plenty of work left to be done," Charest said. "Persistent acts of violence against women and sexism remain omnipresent."

Charest's counterpart in Ottawa, Maryam Monsef, the federal minister responsible for the status of women and gender equality, said she invites Canadians to "reflect on what we can all do – through our words and actions – to end gender-based violence and create a brighter future for everyone.”

"We reaffirm our commitment to end gender-based violence, here in Canada and around the world," Monsef said. "We also honour the survivors, advocates, and community-based organizations working tirelessly to bring about change."

This Canadian Press report was originally published Nov. 25, 2019.