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On International Women’s Day, Stand With Her

07 March 2019


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.

On International Women’s Day, we will showcase the work of women human rights defenders around the world.

These women have fought collectively for human rights and social transformation across a range of issues, including domestic violence, sexual harassment, women’s rights online, education and sexual violence.

Panmela Castro, a now famous graffiti artist, is one of them. A survivor of domestic violence from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Panmela has turned her personal tragedy into activism. She founded a nationwide network, Rede Nami, which includes more than 500 women human rights defenders. It supports communities on addressing domestic violence through workshops on women’s rights, and through graffiti art.

“I used the art that I was producing to show other women that they don’t have to accept the violence in their life,” Panmela says.

She calls on others to join this movement and reflect on how they can contribute: “If you have a talent, or if you have a profession, you can use it to help other women get out of this situation.”

Panmela is one example of thousands of women and feminist movements around the world who are continuing to effect critical social change in order to achieve full gender equality.

Despite much progress, women’s rights are still under threat

Historically however, battles similar to Panmela’s have come up against almost insurmountable barriers, and many women human rights defenders and movements have faced threats, suspicion and even violent attacks. 

“Women and girls who fight for equality still face criticism,” says Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Whether they demand access to contraception or an end to sexual harassment, they are often accused of undermining tradition, the family, culture and religion.” 

Yet, time and again, these barriers have and continue to be overcome. 

Through our #IStandWithHer campaign, we want to honour and respect the women who have faced such threats and attacks, and to join and stand by the women and feminist movements who continue to challenge the status quo despite the odds they face. 

We want to call on everyone to be a women human rights defender, and to join the movement towards gender equality.

From Brazil to Tanzania, the Netherlands, Egypt, and Pakistan, find out more about these courageous women and the feminist movements to which they belong.

And stand with her by sharing their stories.

7 March 2019