In many countries, women political and civil rights, such as the right to vote have progressed – thanks to the women’s suffrage movement, but even in those countries with women’s suffrage, economic inequality, gender-based violence and discrimination persist.
Elsewhere, women are still denied many freedoms. A woman’s right to make decisions about her own body and access abortion services continues to come under attack from a range of politicians with social conservatives, religious, or regressive agendas in mosts regions.
Women’s rights and equality is inseparable from the human rights movement which recognises that everyone should be equal in their dignity and rights. A woman’s rights are her human rights.
It has been women who have led and driven nearly every advancement toward gender equality, but of course, everyone can and should play a role in ending sexism and dismantling the patriarchy and entrenched privilege.
Women Human Rights Defenders
From Indigenous land rights struggles to efforts to confront corporate greed and dismantle systemic racism, women human rights defenders are on the front lines, behind the scenes and everywhere in between.
Women who engage in the defense of any or all human rights and people of all genders who engage in the defense of women’s rights and rights related to gender and sexuality are collectively known as ‘women human rights defenders (WHRDs).
Unfortunately because of deep-rooted discrimination against women and stereotypes related to gender and sexuality, WHRDs face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence – both because of the work they do and because of who they are. In addition to the risks of threats, attacks and violence faced by all defenders, WHRDs are exposed to specific risks driven by deep-rooted discrimination against women and stereotypes related to gender and sexuality.
ISHR takes a broad, inclusive and feminist approach on women human rights defenders (WHRDs and their work. You can read about ISHR’s work to promote and protect the rights of WHRDs here.