Stories


International Women’s Day: Women leaders driving change in a post-COVID-19 world
International Women’s Day: Women leaders driving change in a post-COVID-19 world
For more than a year now, women leaders across all ages and walks of life have been instrumental in the response to COVID-19. Ahead of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating their achievements, their inspiring battles for the human rights of women and girls, and sharing their demands for a better post COVID-19 world. Join us.
3 March 2021
International Women’s Day: Five women human rights leaders demand a more equal post-pandemic world
International Women’s Day: Five women human rights leaders demand a more equal post-pandemic world
Ahead of International Women’s Day, we spoke to five women leaders who have been instrumental in the response to COVID-19. From the climate crisis, to prevention of domestic and sexual violence, to better access to healthcare for minority groups, these inspiring women are leading efforts for a more just, more sustainable ‘new normal.’
3 March 2021
Responding to the needs of women, ‘first responders’ to Egypt’s COVID-19 crisis
Responding to the needs of women, ‘first responders’ to Egypt’s COVID-19 crisis
Entisar Elsaeed, Founder and Director of the Cairo Foundation for Development and Law, has seen the increasing burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in Egypt. She decided to focus the work of her Foundation on the country’s most vulnerable during the crisis.
25 February 2021
Keeping women and girls in Kenya safe during COVID-19
Keeping women and girls in Kenya safe during COVID-19
Beatrice Karore, a community mobiliser who helps survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in Kenya, says that violence against women has increased during COVID-19 and uncovered unprecedented mental health needs.
2 February 2021
South African environmental activist demands responsible business practices during COVID-19
South African environmental activist demands responsible business practices during COVID-19
Margaret Ghogha Molomo, an environmental activist in South Africa, says that protecting her community from destructive mining companies has been made harder by the assembly restrictions during COVID-19.
29 December 2020
COVID-19 recovery “unattainable” without women-led organizations and movements- UN independent expert
COVID-19 recovery “unattainable” without women-led organizations and movements- UN independent expert
In his latest report to the UN General Assembly, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, calls on States to protect and continue funding women-led organizations and movements during and after COVID-19.
5 November 2020
Sexual violence victims in Ituri’s conflict find a place for healing and justice
Sexual violence victims in Ituri’s conflict find a place for healing and justice
Solidarité feminine pour la paix et le développement intégral (SOFEPADI), an NGO founded by women in the north east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, helps women, children and men victims of conflict related sexual violence heal their physical and psychological wounds, and fights impunity for crimes in Ituri.
30 July 2020
Women most affected by COVID-19, should participate in recovery efforts
Women most affected by COVID-19, should participate in recovery efforts
Experts at the Human Rights Council discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and compounded gender inequalities and why States should focus more attention on women and girls when rebuilding the economy post-COVID-19.
22 July 2020
Reflecting on 25 years of women’s rights action
Reflecting on 25 years of women’s rights action
Twenty-five years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, experts celebrate that document’s vision of women’s rights and discuss its continued relevance to address remaining and new challenges.
6 March 2020
#IStandwithHer: It is time to change the story
#IStandwithHer: It is time to change the story
Gender stereotypes lie at the heart of discriminatory attitudes, policies and laws. They are so deeply ingrained that we often replicate them unconsciously. On International Women’s Day, join us to change discriminatory narrative and demand more equal and inclusive societies.
25 February 2020
The Right to Voice: sexual violence survivors from Colombia tell their stories
The Right to Voice: sexual violence survivors from Colombia tell their stories
Survivors of sexual and gender-based violence from Colombia tell their stories in a photo exhibition being displayed at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
1 April 2019
"Because your voice is valid"
"Because your voice is valid"
Law student and UN Human Rights Fellow, Mary Consolata Namagambe, has decided to challenge the exclusion she and other people of African descent endure in a majority-white Danish society.
29 March 2019
On International Women’s Day, Stand With Her
On International Women’s Day, Stand With Her
Generations of courageous women and feminist movements have together stood up for social change by fighting for human rights. On International Women’s Day, they are being recognised and honoured. The #IStandWithHer campaign will tell some of their stories.
7 March 2019
From Benin to Florida: Dr Joannie Bewa’s global fight for women’s education
From Benin to Florida: Dr Joannie Bewa’s global fight for women’s education
A young physician and human rights defender, Joannie Bewa advocates for girls’ and women’s health and education rights in her native Benin. She is also globally promoting the Sustainable Development Goals as a UN Young Leader.
5 March 2019
When you stand up for girls, you stand up for everyone
When you stand up for girls, you stand up for everyone
Francis Oko Armah is a student who stands up for the right for young people to have access to and be educated about reproductive and sexual health. He works for the Young Leaders for Change Foundation in Accra, Ghana.
8 February 2019
Doing right by women and girls
Doing right by women and girls
Tikhala Itaye, a young human rights defender from Malawi, wishes initiatives to promote the rights of women and girls would reach communities at the grassroots. “If they don’t know their rights, we are not doing something right,” she says.
6 December 2018
“The only option to survive is to be brave”
“The only option to survive is to be brave”
Pakistani athlete and human rights defender Noorena Shams is a triple-threat athlete (cycling, squash, cricket) and an outspoken advocate for rights and an active example of how sport can “make you bold.”
12 October 2018
Gender integration in human rights investigations
Gender integration in human rights investigations
“Investigations that overlook the ways in which gender, other identities and the associated social norms serve to aggravate, falsely normalize, hide and even excuse human rights impacts cannot be accepted. Gender identity and status matter,” said UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore.
5 October 2018
Bridging the digital gender divide
Bridging the digital gender divide
The potential of technology to help women and girls exercise their human rights has yet to be realised because of a persistent and growing digital gender divide. But experts say this divide can be bridged through concentrated efforts to educate, ensure access, and improve the skills of women and girls.
11 July 2018
Digital misogyny is personal and fixable
Digital misogyny is personal and fixable
For women and girls, the internet can be an empowering space. It can also be dangerous, as online abuse escalates. But a group of experts and activists say the abuse can be challenged using human rights and technology.
6 July 2018
Soumayya’s story: A bold fight against female genital mutilation
Soumayya’s story: A bold fight against female genital mutilation
“This is a practice that is injuring the bodies of women, the bodies of girls,” said Soumayya, who took a courageous stand against female mutilation and was imprisoned and tortured for her resistance to the widespread practice. Her fight continues to this day. Here is her story.
1 December 2017
Protecting the reproductive rights of adolescent girls
Protecting the reproductive rights of adolescent girls
Restrictions on adolescent girls’ reproductive choices are an especially hurtful form of gender-based discrimination and violence, women’s rights experts told Member States at a high-level panel discussion of the Human Rights Council.
23 November 2017
Activists use human rights to advance sexual and reproductive health
Activists use human rights to advance sexual and reproductive health
“Human rights mechanisms are a way to hold governments accountable, especially at a time when there is shrinking space,” said Catherine Nyambura, of the pan-African women’s rights organization FemNet. She made her comment after a recent training session on sexual and reproductive health and rights, organized by the UN Human Rights Regional Office in East Africa.
25 October 2017
Gender discrimination, racial discrimination and women
Gender discrimination, racial discrimination and women's human rights
The Human Rights Council examines the negative impacts of intersecting discrimination against women and girls in the context of racism and racial discrimination.
29 September 2017
Uncertain prospects for Boko Haram survivors
Uncertain prospects for Boko Haram survivors
As more women and girls are freed from the violence of terror group Boko Haram, those returning to their communities do not always receive a survivor’s welcome. How can local authorities improve their reintegration into their communities and ensure their rehabilitation?
21 June 2017
Women’s health at the heart of sustainable development
Women’s health at the heart of sustainable development
When women’s right to health is upheld, their access to all other human rights are enhanced, triggering a process of transformative change and greater development for all, said Tarja Halonen, co-chair of the High-Level Working Group on Health and Human Rights.
15 June 2017
Stand up for human rights to – and through - health
Stand up for human rights to – and through - health
Human rights cannot be fully enjoyed without health, nor can health be fully realized without the dignity upheld by human rights. A new report launched by a group of UN experts calls on Governments to stand up for the human rights to health through health by taking concrete actions to deliver on existing promises to fund, protect and expand health care provision.
23 May 2017
A girl
A girl's education comes first, marriage will follow later
Thanks to her human rights training, a pupil prevents an early marriage and stands up for girls’ education.
6 March 2017
Child and forced marriage: a violation of human rights
Child and forced marriage: a violation of human rights
Today, about 700 million girls worldwide are married before they reach adulthood, according to UN estimates.
3 November 2016
Putting women’s rights at the forefront of judicial decisions
Putting women’s rights at the forefront of judicial decisions
In Guatemala, a toolkit developed by OHCHR promotes a human rights and gender approach in the administration of justice in cases related to violence against women, femicide, exploitation and trafficking in persons.
3 August 2016
UN Sustainable Development Goals to better serve the rights of women and girls
UN Sustainable Development Goals to better serve the rights of women and girls
UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore (pictured on stage with actress Jessica Biel) urged participants at the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen to continue to agitate and push for human rights for women and girls.
10 June 2016
Women’s rights body rules on Russian banned jobs list complaint
Women’s rights body rules on Russian banned jobs list complaint
A UN women’s rights committee calls on Russia to amend a list of 456 jobs and 38 industries prohibited to women.
22 April 2016
Changing our subconscious maps the way to equality
Changing our subconscious maps the way to equality
Sexism is deeply rooted in our unconscious, said Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore. “We grow up with these internal maps that lead to a bias that can be said to be unconscious. We have to own our responsibility to confront and dismantle those toxic maps.”
10 March 2016
International Women
International Women's Day 2016
Improving gender parity is the focus for this year's International Women's Day which has the theme "Planet 50-50 by 2030: step it up for gender equality."
7 March 2016
Peru compensates woman in historic UN Human Rights abortion case
Peru compensates woman in historic UN Human Rights abortion case
The Government of Peru has agreed to pay compensation to a woman who was denied access to legal abortion services, as part of the first UN Human Rights Committee ruling on an abortion case.
18 January 2016
Witchcraft in a modern age: broken communities and recalcitrant stigma
Witchcraft in a modern age: broken communities and recalcitrant stigma
Desperate times can revive olden beliefs that make members of the same community turn against one another.
10 December 2015
Ending child marriage: affected girls speak for themselves
Ending child marriage: affected girls speak for themselves
“Child marriage started before me and will end with me,” said one of the participants during a safe space discussion for former child brides held at the First African Girls Summit to End Child Marriage, in Lusaka, Zambia.
4 December 2015
Geneva focus of forum on preventing violence against women
Geneva focus of forum on preventing violence against women
It is often forgotten that no place is immune to the issue of violence against women. The UN Human Rights Office took a look at the work being done locally in Geneva to assist victims of such violence.
3 December 2015
Legal clinics bring justice and rehabilitation to victims of sexual violence in DR Congo
Legal clinics bring justice and rehabilitation to victims of sexual violence in DR Congo
The UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DR Congo supports victims of sexual violence through grassroots organizations that provide direct legal assistance, free of charge, for survivors and their families.
25 November 2015
Workshop provides critical space for activists working on sexual and reproductive health rights
Workshop provides critical space for activists working on sexual and reproductive health rights
Improving the promotion of sexual and reproductive health rights was the focus of a recent workshop organized by the UN Human Rights Regional Office for West Africa. The workshop trained NGOs from across West Africa on how to use human rights mechanisms to increase respect for sexual and reproductive health and rights.
4 August 2015