Priority Areas

Supporting feminist, women’s rights and gender justice movements to thrive, to be a driving force in challenging systems of oppression, and to co-create feminist realities.

Advancing Universal Rights and Justice

Uprooting Fascisms and Fundamentalisms

Across the globe, feminist, women’s rights and gender justice defenders are challenging the agendas of fascist and fundamentalist actors. These oppressive forces target women, persons who are non-conforming in their gender identity, expression and/or sexual orientation, and other oppressed communities.

Discriminatory ideologies are undermining and co-opting our human rights systems and standards,  with the aim of making rights the preserve of only certain groups. In the face of this, the Advancing Universal Rights and Justice (AURJ) initiative promotes the universality of rights - the foundational principle that human rights belong to everyone, no matter who they are, without exception.

We create space for feminist, women’s rights and gender justice movements and allies to recognize, strategize and take collective action to counter the influence and impact of anti-rights actors. We also seek to advance women’s rights and feminist frameworks, norms and proposals, and to protect and promote the universality of rights.

Our actions

Through this initiative, we:

  • Build knowledge: We support feminist, women’s rights and gender justice movements by disseminating and popularizing knowledge and key messages about anti-rights actors, their strategies, and impact in the international human rights systems through AWID’s leadership role in the collaborative platform, the Observatory on the Universality of Rights (OURs)*.
  • Advance feminist agendas: We ally ourselves with partners in international human rights spaces including, the Human Rights Council, the Commission on Population and Development, the Commission on the Status of Women and the UN General Assembly.
  • Create and amplify alternatives: We engage with our members to ensure that international commitments, resolutions and norms reflect and are fed back into organizing in other spaces locally, nationally and regionally.
  • Mobilize solidarity action: We take action alongside women human rights defenders (WHRDs) including trans and intersex defenders and young feminists, working to challenge fundamentalisms and fascisms and call attention to situations of risk.  


Related Content

Janette Sunita

From India, Janette was feisty, formidable, compassionate and loving.

Janette’s intolerance of injustice and fierce commitment to standing up for all people’s rights led her to work at TARSHI (an NGO that works on sexuality and sexual and reproductive health and rights) for more than 15 years. Janette ably managed and led the finance, human resources and operations aspects of TARSHI’s work, adeptly navigating the labyrinthine bureaucracy to which Indian NGOs are subjected.

Her team remembers that  “She stood watch so we could steer well in open waters. A woman of many talents, Janette not only helped us procure our own office space but also designed it for optimal usage.She loved travel and animals and was interested in animal assisted therapy."


Janette Sunita, India

Teresia Teaiwa

Described by the Guardian as one of Kiribati’s national icons, Teresia was a fearless advocate who worked closely with feminist groups in Fiji.

She used her research to address the issues of feminism and gender in the Pacific, as well as being co-editor of the International feminist Journal of Politics. Her influence spanned the academic frontier as well as social justice movements in the Oceania region.


Teresia Teaiwa, Fiji

Reason to join 3

Share your stories and hear from others. By connecting our experiences, narratives and proposals we help co-create and amplify Feminist Realities.

Diakite Fatoumata Sire

Diakite was actively involved in advocating for women in political and public life in Mali.

She worked to support training of women candidates in elections, and spoke out against the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). She was a strong proponent of reproductive health and rights. 


Diakite Fatoumata Sire, Mali

Forum anchors (Forum page)

Forum Anchors

The AWID Forum will be organized around 6 interconnected topics. These ‘anchors’ center feminist realities.


Carol Thomas

Carol Thomas was a trailblazer for women’s sexual and reproductive rights in South Africa. A gifted gynecologist and founder of the WomenSpace, she practiced and advocated for non-traditional ways of delivering healthcare to women, offering services that were high quality, empathetic and accessible.

“She entered into not only the joy of pregnancies and new babies, but the anxieties of infertility and premature deliveries and female cancers, the heartbreak of miscarriages and stillbirths.” Helen Moffett

Carol thought in new paradigms that centered the needs of women with the least access to services and rights in society:

“The prevailing socio-economic environment that we find ourselves in means that women bear a disproportionate burden of disease and unemployment…As a black, previously disadvantaged woman I have a good sense of what is happening in our communities.” - Carol Thomas

Carol’s innovative and multi-award-winning social venture “iMobiMaMa” used mobile kiosks and interactive technology to connect women directly with antenatal and reproductive health services, information and support in communities all over South Africa.

Carol supported women both in wanted and unwanted pregnancies, mentoring many nurses and doctors during her lifetime.

She was also described as the go-to gynecologist “for trans folks who could have affirming care. She got it right when so many did not have the language or pronouns. Her warm blankets, listening and saying just what you needed to hear was so comforting.” -Marion Lynn Stevens

Carol Thomas was described as being at the height of her professional career when she died on 12 April 2019 of complications following a double lung transplant.

The tributes that poured in following her unexpected death referred to her as many things:

“a role model, warrior woman, innovator, dynamic leader, mould-breaker, dynamo, brilliant scientist, compassionate doctor.”

Undoubtedly, Carol Thomas will be remembered and honored for being all of this and much more.

FRMag - Ashawo Work na Work

“Ashawo Work na Work”: How Young Ghanaian Feminists Are Making Feminist Futures A Reality

by Fatima B. Derby

In 2017, the AWID #PracticeSolidarity campaign highlighted how young feminists could build feminist futures by showing up for one another, being in cross-regional conversations with one another, marching in solidarity with other activists and collaborating between movements.  (...)


< artwork: “Let it Grow” by Gucora Andu

Sarah Maldoror

“I’m no adherent to the concept of the ‘Third World’. I make films so that people - no matter what race or color they are - can understand them. For me there are only exploiters and the exploited, that’s all. To make a film means to take a position.” - Sarah Maldoror 

Sarah Maldoror, a French filmmaker of West Indies descent, was a pioneer of Pan-African cinema. At the core of her work, she placed political concerns along with her longstanding involvement in decolonization movements.

Her groundbreaking film and “revolutionary picture” Sambizanga (1972) follows Angolan militants’ anti-colonial liberation struggle, as well as captures a woman’s perspective in a historical moment she finds herself in. 

“For many African filmmakers, cinema is a revolutionary tool, a political education to raise consciousness. It is inscribed in the evolution of a Third Cinema striving to decolonize thought and advocate radical changes in society.” - Sarah Maldoror

Throughout her career, Sarah - together with a number of African and Caribbean artists - co-founded (1956) the first Black theatre troupe in France. She made around 40 films, comprising important documentaries that amplify the lives and work of black artists, including her friend and poet Aimé Césaire who wrote to her: 

“To Sarah Maldo
who, a camera in hand,
fights oppression, alienation
and flies in the face
of human bullshit.”

Sarah was also committed to giving African women more ownership of the filmmaking process. In an interview, she pointed out: 

"African women must be everywhere. They must be in the images, behind the camera, in the editing room and involved in every stage of the making of a film. They must be the ones to talk about their problems." 

Sarah left an incredibly powerful legacy to be carried forward. 

Born 19 July 1929, Sarah passed away on 13 April 2020 from complications of the coronavirus.

Watch Sambizanga and read a film review in a 1973 New York Times article

Film club - intro

As part of AWID’s Feminist Realities journey, we invite you to explore our newly launched Feminist Film Club: a collection of short and feature films selected by feminist curators and storytellers from around the world, including Jess X. Snow (Asia/Pacific), Gabrielle Tesfaye (Africa/African Diaspora), and Esra Ozban (South West Asia, North Africa). Alejandra Laprea is curating the Latin & Central American program, which we’ll launch in September during AWID’s Crear, Résister, Transform: A Festival for Feminist Movements. In the meantime, look out for announcements on special films screenings and conversations with filmmakers!

Cristina Bautista

“If we stay quiet they kill us and if we talk [they kill us] too. So, let’s talk.” -  Cristina Bautista, 2019

Cristina Bautista was a member of the Nasa Indigenous people’s community whose home is situated in the region of Northern Cauca, Colombia. She was part of their resistance as a leader, land rights defender, social worker, and governor of the Nasa Tacueyó Indigenous reserve. 

A tireless defender of the rights of Nasa people, Cristina spoke strongly and loudly against the violence directed at her community. In a speech before the United Nations, she called for the protection of Indigenous women’s lives and their involvement in different spheres of life. In 2017, Cristina was a UN Human Rights Office Indigenous fellow and she was awarded a grant from the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples in 2019. 

“I would like to bring to light the current situation of the Indigenous people in Colombia, the killing of Indigenous leaders, the repression of social protest. Instead of helping, the peace deal has increased war and the exploitation of sacred territories in Colombia… In the current situation, in almost all Indigenous nations as women we have been working to find a better future for our families. I don’t want more women from the countryside to continue living under these circumstances. We need opportunities for Indigenous women to participate in politics, in the economy, in society and in culture. Today gives me true strength, to see all these women here and that I am not alone.” - Cristina Bautista, 2019

On 29 October 2019, Cristina was murdered along with four unarmed Indigenous guards in an attack which was allegedly carried out by armed members of “Dagoberto Ramos”, a FARC dissident group. 

According to Global Witness, “the murder of community and social leaders has risen dramatically in Colombia in recent years.” 

“The Nasa community has repeatedly raised the alarm with the authorities about threats to their safety. Despite efforts by successive Colombian Governments, indigenous peoples continue to face great risks, especially religious or community leaders like Cristina Bautista.” - UN press briefing, 1 November 2019

Watch a speech by Cristina Bautista in August 2019 in which she denounced previous murders of Indigenous guards (Spanish only)

Workshop Methodology

Coming soon:

Workshop Methodology

Want to bring people together to strengthen resistance? This methodology for workshops offers group exercises to increase collective knowledge and power, with options to adapt to your needs.

Coming soon!

Chinelo Onwualu Snippet

Chinelo Onwualu is an editorial consultant with nearly 10 years of experience in crafting strategic communications for nonprofits across the world. Her clients have included ActionAid Nigeria, The BBC World Trust, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), and AWID. She has a master’s degree in Journalism from Syracuse University and has worked as a writer, editor, and researcher in Nigeria, Canada, and the United States. She is also the non-fiction editor of Anathema magazine and co-founder of Omenana, a magazine of African Speculative Fiction. Her short stories have been featured in several award-winning anthologies and she’s been nominated for the British Science Fiction Awards, the Nommo Awards for African Speculative Fiction, and the Short Story Day Africa Award. She’s from Nigeria but lives in Toronto with her partner and child.

Zuhour Mahmoud | Snippet EN

Portrait of Zuhour Mahmoud

Zuhour Mahmoud is the Communication Strategist at Kohl. She is a writer and an editor, and an occasional DJ based in Berlin. Her work focuses on critical approaches to music, technology and politics and their life cycles within the digital sphere.

استنارة بضوء البدر: تجربة “بي دي إس إم” أفريقية COMIC moongirls | Snippet Small AR

استنارة بضوء البدر: تجربة “بي دي إس إم” أفريقية

هل اختبرتم من قبل لحظات من الصفاء الذهني العميق أثناء أو بعد ممارسة الجنس؟

اقرأ المزيد هنا

A Joy to the World: Six Questions with Naike Ledan | Small Snippet EN

A Joy to the World: Six Questions with Naike Ledan

What helped me was, I loved the work of going into the country and documenting people’s knowledge. So I left the comfort. I became a country director of a regional organisation that was queer as fuck!

Illustration of two hands holding a photo of mother and baby

Read interview


Snippet Kohl - Plenary | Organizing to Win AR

جلسة عامة | التنظيم لتحقيق النصر

جلسة عامة | التنظيم لتحقيق النصر 
مع نازك أبيلجازيفا وأمارانتا جوميز ريجالادو وسيندي ويزنر ولوسينيا فريتا


#9 - Sexting like a feminist Tweets Snippet AR

لا ضير في وضع قواعد اللعبة

Leave your biases, preconception, and your clothes at the door!

ممنوع الدخول قبل التخلّص من أي شكل من أشكال التحيّز و/أو الأحكام المُسبقة و/أو الاحتشام!

Snippet FEA Audio Story 3 (EN)

Listen to the story here:

40 Years of AWID: The Scrapbook | EN Snippet HOME

40 Years of AWID: The Scrapbook

In collaboration with artist Naadira Patel, we created a scrapbook that highlights a handful of snapshots from AWID’s last four decades of feminist movement support.

Snippet FEA different lines of work S4 (EN)

Lines of work: