Women human rights defenders (WHRDs) do the same work as their male counterparts, and face many of the same challenges and threats as a result. However, women face additional obstacles and threats on account of their gender. In many societies women are not expected to speak out and challenge the status quo. Women human rights defenders suffer threats, stigma, social rejection and worse, not only because they are promoting and defending the rights of others, but also because they are women doing that work.

In Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and Kenya women defenders face additional pressure and discrimination because of their gender and because they challenge entrenched discrimination and accepted norms of behaviour. Indigenous women and women from rural areas are among those most at risk. Almost half the human rights defenders PBI accompanies are women.

PBI is a member of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition

PBI also contributed to the G8 Declaration on Sexual Violence in Conflict (2013)

Watch a video - Women human rights defenders receive threats

Read a 2012 report on protection needs from a conference with WHRDs

Read a 2015 report on WHRDs in Mexico:

PDF icon Women_Human_Rights_Defenders_report_2015_-_English_.pdf

PDF icon Women_Human_Rights_Defenders_report_2015_Spanish.pdf


Accompanied WHRDs & organisations working for women's rights


Berenice Celeyta, NOMADESC

Claudia Duque

Grassroots Women’s Organisation (OFP)

Luis Carlos Pérez Lawyers’ Collective (CCALCP)


Alba Cruz, lawyer for the Integral Defence Committee for Human Rights “Gobixha” (Codigo-DH)

Organisation of Women Ecologists of the Sierra de Petatlán (OMESP)

Tita Radilla, of the Mexican Association of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared (ADAFEM)

Valentina Rosendo Cantú


Dina Meza

Glady Lanza

COPINH - Berta Caceres Case