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Intl. Women Human Rights Defenders Day: A wake-up call for business & govt. to consult & protect women activists

Confronting companies is risky for all human rights defenders, but some defenders are at greater risk than others because of who they are and what they do. As Front Line Defenders put it, "when women take leadership, they challenge gender norms and often contest the patriarchal culture perpetuated by communities, states and corporations. As a result, [women human rights defenders] are subjected to gender-specific and sexual violence and intimidation. Threats against their families and loved ones are intended to force them to abandon their critical work for rights and justice". Gender is a key factor to integrate into companies’ and governments’ consultations with and protection of defenders.

On November 29th, the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, we share the testimonies of women defenders and some of the key stories from 2016 that illustrate the challenges faced by these defenders as they struggle for corporate accountability.

“Khmer tradition dictates that women should just stay home. Studying in school and joining social actions and political activities are often discouraged. Historically, women have been discriminated against so much that women themselves think that the only thing they should be really good at is cooking rice. My passion is for us as women to get involved in social change and politics, excel in what we do, be confident and brave, and claim our rightful place in society even if it takes being behind bars to prove a point” -one of the 11 land rights activists arrested and subsequently released for leading a protest in defense of land rights in Cambodia

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