On International Women’s Day last Friday, the likes of Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Adwoa Aboah and 72 other women activists, signed an open letter calling for more protection of women’s rights activists and organisations.
The signatories of the open letter, published in the Guardian, are calling on international governments to double their steps in protecting women who choose to speak up, since outspoken women who raised some concerned issues have faced backlashes in the form of trolling, online abuse and censorship, from the day of Adam. The letter read, “Every woman should have the freedom to make her own choices and claim her rights. Yet, when women speak out, attempt to have a say in the decisions affecting their lives or defend their rights, far too often, they are silenced, undermined and even endangered.”
According to the women activists speaking for the masses of women, it’s about time such things came to a stop. “Women are at risk of backlash, censorship and violence wherever they speak out, both online and offline. The expertise and experiences of women human rights defenders are not being recognised or trusted. Women are not being meaningfully consulted on issues that directly impact them. Women who speak out are facing all forms of violence and abuse. This has to stop.”
Caroline Haworth, CEO of Womankind Worldwide, the organisation who put together the letter, lauded the bravery of human rights defenders and that of women putting their lives at risk for the benefit of other women. She said, “Women’s rights are under threat like never before, with rising fundamentalism, financial crises and political turmoil. Support for human rights defenders on the frontline is something everybody can relate to because they are fighting the fight for the rest of us. People really appreciate that. A lot of women put themselves at real risk of violence and harm for the work that they do.”
By: Larry Adams