This post was authored by Rebecca Hughes, research associate in the women and foreign policy program.
2018 has been a tough year for human rights. From the looming famine in Yemen, to the ongoing genocide in Myanmar, to family separation in the United States, this year’s news cycle has lurched from one depressing report to the next. As the year draws to close, international human rights organizations such as Freedom House are reporting that democracy is on the decline and political rights and civil liberties are under attack. But women and girls around the world are fighting back.
Women human rights defenders face unique challenges due to persistent gender discrimination and corrosive stereotypes. Women activists have always shouldered more than their fair share of the burden. They are often subjected to relentless harassment campaigns online and in-person, and exposed to specific risks, such as gender-based violence and misogynistic attacks.
Yet despite these challenges, women around the globe are working tirelessly to advance peace and promote equality.
Here are eight of the women who fought for a better world and future in 2018.