Support gender equality and women's rights activists: A message from Navi Pillay


'I am writing to ask you to help advance gender equality by donating to support women human rights defenders...' A personal message from ISHR Board Member and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, on how you can help to support and protect women's rights activists and defenders.

Dear friend of ISHR,

I am writing to ask you to help advance gender equality by donating to support women human rights defenders.

The human rights of women and girls – their health, empowerment, economic status and protection from violence – continue to be systematically or surreptitiously denied at every moment, all over the world. It is appalling that, simply because of gender, they are at greater risk of violence, danger to health, inadequate political representation, lack of access to justice, and economic disadvantage.

It takes bravery to fight against entrenched gender discrimination. Those who do so often face threats to their lives, their loved-ones and their reputations. They come up against repressive and discriminatory laws, criminalisation, arbitrary detention, stigmatisation and violence.

As a women’s rights activist myself, I know what it’s like to be discriminated against and threatened for challenging the status quo. I know the indignation and passion that drives us, and the very real threats that can overshadow us.

But as a decision maker, I have also witnessed the profound influence women human rights defenders can have in changing the prejudices of their own communities. The reality is there would be no progress towards gender equality, were it not for women's rights defenders.

If you agree that gender equality should be fought for and that those on the frontlines are worthy of support, please make a donation to ISHR’s women human rights defender programme.

Your donation will help to:

  • Implement protective international legislation at the national-level 
  • Provide intensive training and strategic advice to women's rights activists to support their advocacy at the UN, the African Commission and the Inter-American Commission
  • Undertake advocacy at the UN Human Rights Council on key decisions that will promote the political participation of women and end violence and discrimination against them.

Find out more about ISHR’s work with women human rights defenders here.

I can personally vouch for the work you will be investing in. My decision to serve on the ISHR Board is based on the significant contribution I have seen ISHR make to the global recognition and protection of human rights defenders - especially women human rights defenders. 

I therefore strongly encourage you to show your support. Please join me in investing in gender equality by making a donation to women human rights defenders.

Yours sincerely,

Navi Pillay
ISHR Board member
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014