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 Nepal 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 2015 report on WHRDs in Mexico:

Resources for WHRDs: Toolkit for WHRDs in Nairobi's urban settlements

PBI Kenya has developed a toolkit primarily for women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in Kenya and specifically for those in the urban settlements of Nairobi. The purpose of the Toolkit is to provide WHRDs in Nairobi’s urban settlements, and those in similar environments, with knowledge, information and relevant tools useful for improving their understanding on security and protection. The Toolkit helps WHRDs undertake their own risk assessments and aids them in defining security rules and procedures which suit their particular situations and environments.

Therefore, the Toolkit intends to move defenders towards creating better networks and frameworks to protect the rights of WHRDs in Kenya. We expect that it will assist WHRDs to gain recognition for their work, defend their rights, challenge impunity, and seek justice and accountability.

The Toolkit was officially launched on 25th November 2016, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and first day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.

A leaflet with background information on the Toolkit was prepared for the launch. It can be accessed here.

The Toolkit can be accessed here.

The development of the Toolkit has been financially supported by the Evan Cornish Foundation. 

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