[Featured Resource] Celebrating International Women's Month đź“š

Dear friends,

This month we celebrate International Women’s Month and the #ChooseToChallenge campaign, with our commitment to choose to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world.

In the pandemic context, grassroots justice defenders in every country are stepping up to address institutional gaps, continue supporting their communities and protect the rights of women and girls. Every day we see Network members who #ChooseToChallenge and join this year’s theme Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.

Learning from the experiences of these groups is essential, not only to #BuildBackBetter, but also to maintain hope and inspiration in these challenging times.

Keeping this in mind, this month we share a list of resources developed by Network members and other key actors in 2020/2021, that we hope are useful to continue supporting communities and fighting for gender equality and access to justice for all women. :books: :point_down:t4:

:blue_book: Rising Stronger: Security Strategies for Women Defenders [ by Network member Nazdeek @jsatpute @TriptiPoddar1 @ShreyaSen]

This timely report documents challenges faced by WHRDs from marginalised communities in Delhi and Assam in their struggles to realize socio-economic rights. This documentation of threats and attacks faced by them give us an understanding of the varied challenges and helps to develop intervention strategies. Recognising that these strategies must be developed with the defenders themselves in their local context, this report also suggests ways to keep WHRDs safe. Since WHRDs face backlash from within their own communities for defying social norms and demanding equality, organizing and collectivising to build support is critical. Furthermore, creating safe spaces helps WHRDs continue their work, along with access to basic legal knowledge and social support.

:blue_book: A Legal Empowerment Approach to Achieving Women’s Land and Natural Resources Rights [ by @danielsesay from Namati - Sierra Leone]

Namati’s Community Land Protection (CLP) project supports rural communities to use national laws and policies, as well as mapping and documentation, to protect their customary and indigenous lands and natural resources against intruders, land grabbers and exploitative foreign investors, as well as to prevent intra and inter community conflicts. On the surface, the project may appear to solely serve the advancement of land security at the community level, but when implemented with a gender lens it is also an effective means for advancing equality and protecting women’s rights.

:blue_book: Issue Brief: Women and Customary and Informal Justice [by the International Development Law Organization]

The resource Women and Customary and Informal Justice Systems focuses on the relationship between women and customary and informal justice (CIJ) systems. It brings together current research, expert perspectives and programmatic experience, addressing: the evolution of legal and policy debates on women and CIJ; challenges women encounter in accessing justice through CIJ systems; gender-focused engagement entry points, modalities, and good practices for CIJ systems; and policy recommendations to improve women’s rights and access to justice.

:blue_book: Promotoras Legais Populares: desafios entre teoria e prática [in Portuguese, by Network Gender Anchor Themis - Gênero Justiça e Direitos Humanos @deniseddora @MarciaSoares @luanapereiradc @renatajardim ]

This publication includes a brief synthesis of the online discussions that took place between 3-7 June 2020 as part of the Workshop Promotoras Legais Populares: desafios de agora e no pós-pandemia entre teoria e prática (Community Legal Advocates: current and post-pandemic challenges, between theory and practice), which counted with the participation of 32 Promotoras Legais Populares (Community Legal Advocates) from the Northeast, Center-West, Southeast and South of Brazil.

The publication is a rich document that provides an overview of the main initiatives in the field of Community Legal Advocates’ training in Brazil. In addition, it also includes the challenges and strategies that each organization is implementing in the COVID-19 pandemic period.

:page_facing_up: Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world [by Network member Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) @Nyaradzo @Clarie ]

As we drive this year’s campaign theme, “Choose to Challenge, “we Choose to challenge all barriers to gender equality in the natural resource sector, choose to challenge the poor involvement of women in decision making processes and choose to challenge the factors that are contributing to an increase in gender inequality.

:blue_book: Justice for Women Amids COVID-19 [by the International Development Law Organization]

Justice for Women Amidst COVID-19 documents major challenges to women’s access to justice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It presents a global synthesis of the state of justice systems in connection with women’s justice needs, highlights innovative interventions underway in many parts of the world, and urges justice leaders and all stakeholders to take action to increase justice for women and girls during the global health emergency.

:computer: Protecting Women Civic Space Leadership in a World of Shrinking Civic Space [ by Network member Global Rights Nigeria @Abi @adebayookeowo]

Civic space in Africa consistently contends with being clamped down, and this downward trend is precipitated by laws, policies, physical attacks, threats and demonization of those who stand up for the rights of citizens. More perturbing is the possible effects these attempts have had on gender and the promotion of women leadership on a continent where women still struggle to find their voice. In Nigeria alone, between 2017 and 2020, there have been at least 5 attempts by State actors to both gag the media and control civil society through the proposition of suspicious bills on the floor of the National Assembly.

Join this conversation among renowned activists about how to protect women civic space on March 22 at 5pm CET.


Please share any resources that you think could be of interest to fellow Network members by responding to this post below.

If you have a resource you would like to profile with the network, you can email it to [email protected]

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