November 29th was dedicated to the Feminist and Women Human Rights Defenders in recognition of the brave women from all walks of life who risk their lives to exercise and defend their human rights and the rights of others.
They are feminists, activists, lawyers, judges, teachers, social workers, community leaders, mothers, sisters – who have taken a stand against violence and discrimination against women, and the broader community.
They are the women who scream for justice, shout at injustice, ask hard questions, demand answers, and stand up against governments, institutions, and powerful individuals and groups.
The tribute was first launched at Association of Women In Development’s 12th International Forum on Women’s Rights in Development, held in April 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey. The new version of the tribute takes the form of an online photo exhibition launched on November 25th, Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ends on December 10, International Human Rights Day with a special slide show featuring 16 WHRDs from around the world. The tribute features photographs and biographies of women’s rights leaders from around the world.
This online exhibition, courtesy of is a tribute to these human rights defenders that have passed away – a third of these women were assassinated or disappeared, proving the extreme risks for those working in promoting human rights and challenging the status quo.
On this day, we also give thanks and admiration to the amazing women human rights defenders we know, including amazing humanitarian colleagues who often work in very difficult environments – disasters, war and conflict, displacement, and at times in countries and organisations that don’t understand the need for women’s rights, or with systems and colleagues who question why we need to care about the women and girls.
Our work is fraught with resistance.