The United States honours the work of women who stand up for human rights today. These women and girls, in all their diversity, fight for universal human rights. “The world is more peaceful, safe, and prosperous when women’s human rights are respected and they can fully participate in economic, social, and political life,” as President Biden put it. In all of their diversity, women offer special contributions, including to establishing and maintaining peace in nations all over the world. These contributions improve outcomes for society as a whole as well as for women specifically.

Women who work as human rights advocates frequently experience violence and discrimination on the basis of their gender, which is exacerbated by their socioeconomic status, race, religion, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. Women’s full and equal participation in democracy and civic life is hampered by gender-based harassment, abuse, and threats. These behaviours can also have a chilling effect, which discourages women and girls from pursuing their political and civic aspirations and causes them to self-censor and withdraw from public life.

Despite these obstacles, female human rights advocates are leading the way in the world on issues that concern us all, such as fighting authoritarianism, promoting democracy and equal political participation, demanding accountability and justice for human rights abuses and violations, defending free and independent media, advocating for solutions to the climate crisis, and working to create a more sustainable future for all.

On this International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, the United States pledges to keep working with allies and partners to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility while bolstering the representation of women globally. This commitment includes removing structural obstacles that prevent women from participating in politics and public life. We are steadfast in our resolve to champion and stand by women who defend human rights in all of their diversity, and we will keep highlighting the crucial part they play in securing the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms and human rights for all.

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