Gender and Sexuality

How far have we come on gender, sexuality and human rights? How far do we have yet to go?

Ernesto Arias/EFE

In this era of growing populism and anti-rights dialogue, women’s rights and LGTBI rights are under increasing threat. From the draconian anti-abortion laws taking hold in multiple US states, to the rise of ultra-conservative rhetoric in Chile’s politics, to the disproportionate effect of climate change on women and battles over “gender ideology”, the battle for women’s and LGTBI rights is being fought all over the globe. But there is hope: the #metoo movement has become far more than just a hashtag, renewing an inclusive public discussion on consent and gender-based violence. Young feminists in the global South are mobilizing, and LGTBI communities are rising up in solidarity against repressive states. In response, UN treaty bodies are increasingly scrutinizing states’ treatment of LGBTI persons.

But “gender” is not just about women and LGBTI persons. For over a decade, scholars and practitioners have emphasized that gender equality and the reduction of gender-based violence also requires an investigation into masculinity. And a recent UN resolution acknowledged that men and boys have long been hidden victims of sexual violence in conflict. Gender is about power dynamics, behavioural expectations, constructed identities and harmful inequalities.

The articles in this series examine how far we have come on gender and human rights and look forward to where we are going. What can women do in the face of regressive laws that threaten their hard-won reproductive rights? What effect does US policy on women’s rights have on both men and women in the global South? How does climate change exacerbate gender-based violence, and why? What are the most effective means for LGTBI communities to fight back against increasing repression and hate speech? These are just some of the many topics explored in this series.

 

Challenging the oil industry through community action in Western Uganda

By: Wangũi wa Kamonji
Español | Português

One women’s group in Uganda is showing that solidarity, community and the determination to sustain generative ...

Learning from Dalit women fighting for land rights in Punjab

By: Tarini Manchanda
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ | Español

In Punjab—where about 32% of people are Dalit—Dalit women are fighting for the right to cultivate land, ...

Can corporations play a role in changing harmful social norms?

By: Cynthia Trigo Paz
Español | Français

A “gender-neutral” approach to human rights due diligence is insufficient, and corporations should take ...

Waorani women resist Ecuador’s extractive agenda in the Amazon

By: Vanessa Daza Castillo
Español | Português

Indigenous women in Ecuador are standing up to an extractive industry that has displaced vulnerable ...

Communicating Women’s Rights with a hope-based approach

By: Camila Chaudron

For those of us who care about the rights of women around the world, International Women’s Day can feel ...

What can national action plans on business and human rights do for women’s rights?

By: Nora Götzmann & Wangui Kimotho
Français | Español

National action plan processes can—and must—do more to contribute to the realisation of women’s rights.

Putting human rights at the centre of struggles for health and social equality

By: Alicia Ely Yamin
Español

We’ve made progress on economic and social rights, but the human rights community needs new, much more ...

Can mapping human rights help in the global fight for equality?

By: Ilia Savelev
Español | Français

Human rights mapping has been key to global advocacy for LGBT+ and can be used elsewhere to flag issues ...

What battles over “gender ideology” mean for Colombia’s women human rights defenders

By: Rachel Schmidt
Español

Violence against women and the LGBTI community has a long history in Colombia’s state security apparatus, ...

Can international human rights law be creatively deployed to expand its protections?

By: Raymond A. Smith
Español

How can international human rights law be creatively deployed to expand protections to other characteristics ...

Is climate change worsening gender-based violence in the Pacific Islands?

By: Erin Thomas & Megan Lee Candolfi
Français

In the Pacific Islands, gender inequality and gender-based violence are being exacerbated by climate ...

UN treaty bodies advance LGBTI rights

By: Kseniya Kirichenko
Español | Русский

The UN treaty bodies are increasingly scrutinizing states’ treatment of LGBTI persons, and this is having ...

The little tissue that couldn’t – the hymen’s role in determining sexual history or assault

By: Ranit Mishori & Karen Naimer & Thomas McHale
Español | Français

For such a small piece of tissue, the hymen has gained outsized status as the arbiter of virginity. ...

Seeds of inequality: women in sustainable agriculture

By: Karine Belarmino & Marie Schaedel
Español

Control over land management may be more important than mere legal entitlement when it comes to women’s ...

Protecting abortion providers requires effective strategies to prevent harassment

By: Ximena Casas Isaza
Español | Français

Abortion providers working in national contexts where the law is poorly understood and abortion is socially ...

Myths and realities of #MeToo: Young feminists in the global South speak out

By: Deepa Ranganathan
Español

#MeToo ignited a conversation about sexual and gender-based violence, but young feminists in the global ...

American policy is strangling health access in the global South

By: Karen Chonofsky
Español

The US Global Gag Rule is impeding far more than access to abortion in the global South—services for ...

UN resolution acknowledges hidden victims of sexual violence in conflict—men and boys

By: Charu Lata Hogg
Español

In addressing conflict-related sexual violence, the UN Security Council has urged prevention, protection ...

Bringing women’s voices into the “Smart City Just City” dialogue

By: Natalie Gill
Español

Can urban planners use the technology in “Smart Cities” to create cities that are more just—and safe—for ...

The fight for “fun”damental rights for sex workers in South Africa

By: Ishtar Lakhani
Español | Français

Humour is one of the most effective tools in our activist arsenal, because it has the ability to bring ...

Sex robots: a human rights discourse?

By: Carlotta Rigotti
Español

What are the human rights implications in the growing market for sex robots? Are these AI “gynoids” ...

Silencing the drama - Do the SDG indicators expose the injustices that limit women’s sexual and reproductive lives?

By: Alicia Ely Yamin
Español

The SDGs are a step forward for women’s equality and sexual and reproductive rights, but the indicators ...

Turning anger into positive energy for gender equality in sport

By: Maggie Murphy
Español | Français

Women footballers face discrimination, harassment, and funding challenges every day. But what is more ...

Inaction on gender equality puts SDGs at risk

By: Marte Hellema & Hannie Meesters
Español

If there is no fundamental and transformational change in how gender equality is addressed as part of ...

Fragile Rights? New Challenges for LGBTQ People in the Americas

By: Ari Shaw & Mauricio Albarracín
Español | Português

The rise of religious fundamentalism in Latin America—in conjunction with the populist trend sweeping ...

What we can learn from feminists who fund themselves

By: Tenzin Dolker
Español | Français

Now more than ever, feminist organizations need to deepen the search for autonomous resourcing models ...

Why policymakers need to tackle the digital gender gap

By: Ana Brandusescu
Français

Tackling the digital gender gap means more than improving internet access—it means empowering women ...

Identities in the crosshairs—censoring LGBTQ internet content around the world

By: Miles Kenyon, Adam Senft and Ronald Deibert
Español | العربية

A Canadian company is enabling its software to be used globally to censor access to information on LGBTQ ...

India’s Supreme Court is making landmark judgements in social change

By: Jayna Kothari
Español

In the last few years, public interest litigation at India’s Supreme Court has brought significant wins ...

Using the UN to advance LGBT rights in China

By: Yanzi Peng
简体中文

China’s engagement in UN human rights reviews provides real opportunities to advance protection for ...

Power and safety: rethinking protection for human rights defenders

By: James Savage & Lisa VeneKlasen
Español

The protection and resilience of Human Rights Defenders demands that we all better understand and navigate ...

Malaysia’s punishment of lesbian couple highlights OIC rejection of LGBTQ rights

By: Robert C. Blitt
العربية

Malaysia’s recent caning of a homosexual couple reflects a larger problem with the Organization of Islamic ...

A hidden violation—sexual violence against men and boys in Syria and Turkey

By: Charu Lata Hogg
العربية

A new report suggests sexual violence against men and boys in widespread in the Syria conflict. And ...

Battling exclusion: giving a voice to women affected by leprosy

By: Alice Cruz
Español

Women affected by leprosy in India and beyond face high levels of discrimination and stigmatization, ...

A gender lens is critical to resolving tech-enabled abuse

By: Michelle Lau-Burke & Callie Strickland

Technology can raise awareness and spark collective action, but it can also deepen gender divides and ...

Embedding digital security in feminist movement building

By: Jennifer Radloff
العربية | Français | Español

Strengthening the resilience of the women’s rights movement requires feminists to place digital security ...

Understanding sexual violence against men and boys in conflict

By: Charu Lata Hogg
العربية | Français | Español

Ten years after sexual violence in war was officially recognized as a threat to peace and security, ...

Creating a healing space for women human rights defenders

By: Ana María Hernández Cárdenas & Nallely Guadalupe Tello Méndez
Español

Self-care and collective care do not erase the stress and tensions of everyday life, but using these ...

Fighting the backlash against feminism in Bulgaria

By: Nadejda Dermendjieva & Gergana Kutseva
Español

In Bulgaria, women’s rights, feminism, and LGBTQ rights are inflammatory topics, and one women’s fund ...

The SDGs and gender equality: empty promises or beacon of hope?

By: Kate Donald  & Silke Staab
Français | Español

In a challenging global context for equality and women’s rights, a new UN Women report illustrates how ...

Collaborating across movements to fill funding gaps for women in Nepal

By: Pratima Gurung
Español

Groups in Nepal working at the intersections of different issues such as indigenous women with disabilities, ...

Reframing sexual harassment as gender-based violence: the value of a rights framework

By: Sarah Dávila-Ruhaak
Français | Español

When sexual harassment is reframed as gender-based violence and a human rights violation, rather than ...

The paradoxical existence of the LGBTI movement in Indonesia

By: Devandy Ario Putro
Bahasa

Indonesia used to have a reputation of tolerance, but inflammatory rhetoric from politicians has led ...

Survey: most believe women’s rights are human rights

By: James Ron
Español

Have feminists made traction in campaigning that “women’s rights are human rights?" We interviewed thousands ...

To strengthen global resistance, resource young feminists

By: Felogene Anumo & Ruby Johnson
Español | Français

Young feminists are pushing back and forging new paths in global resistance, but they need financial ...

Climate change exacerbates gender inequality, putting women’s health at risk

By: Hwei Mian Lim
Español

Climate change takes a higher toll on women than on men. Women’s health and well-being, including their ...

Creative persistence: women’s funds responses to the backlash against feminism

By: Augusta Hagen-Dillon
Español

Widespread backlash against progressive values and mounting legal restrictions have led women’s activists ...

Making our movements sustainable: practicing holistic security every day

By: Deepa Ranganathan & María Díaz Ezquerro
Español | العربية | Français

What does holistic security and collective self-care in human rights work look like on a day-to-day ...