• Despite great strides made by the international women’s rights movement over many years, women and girls around the world are still married as children or trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery. They are refused access to education and political participation, and some are trapped in conflicts where rape is perpetrated as a weapon of war. Around the world, deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth are needlessly high, and women are prevented from making deeply personal choices in their private lives. Human Rights Watch is working toward the realization of women’s empowerment and gender equality—protecting the rights and improving the lives of women and girls on the ground.

  • Tigisi (not her real name), now 12, was forced to marry at age 9, but now attends a boarding school with the support of NAFGEM, a local organization. Simanjiro, Tanzania. August 9, 2014.
    Child marriage in Tanzania limits girls’ access to education and exposes them to serious harms. Human Rights Watch documented cases in which girls as young as seven were married. The government should set 18 as the minimum marriage age for girls and boys as a first step toward eradicating child marriage and improving the lives of girls and women.


Women's Rights

  • Dec 18, 2014
    The kafala visa-sponsorship system that is widely, though not uniformly, used across the Gulf bars most migrant domestic workers from moving to a new job before their original contract ends without their employer’s consent, trapping many in abusive situations. The kafala combined with inadequate labor law protections, create conditions ripe for exploitation and abuse of domestic workers.
  • Dec 18, 2014
    The Nepal government should ensure more victim participation and improve transparency when selecting candidates for two independent commissions on the country’s decade-long conflict, eight local and international human rights organizations and conflict-era victims groups said in an open letter to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. The groups, reiterating concerns about the act, said Koirala should narrow the scope of the amnesty powers vested in the commissions and bring them in line with international standards.
  • Dec 17, 2014
    Afghanistan's civil society organisations fought an often lonely battle for women's rights, accountability for war crimes and the need to end torture through the many dark days when the Karzai administration was determined to consign the issues to oblivion. With Karzai gone, the activists are hoping for a new chance to put rights back on the agenda at Kabul's presidential palace.
  • Dec 11, 2014
  • Dec 9, 2014
  • Dec 3, 2014
    In India, many women and girls with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities are locked up in institutions against their will. Some of the institutions for those women, who have disabilities ranging from Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy to schizophrenia and depression, are filthy and overcrowded. Human Rights Watch’s Kriti Sharma spoke with Amy Braunschweiger about the 24 institutions she and other researchers visited across four Indian states – including government mental hospitals and government and private residential care facilities – for the new report, “’Treated Worse than Animals.’“ This is what they found.
  • Dec 3, 2014
    (New Delhi) – Women and girls with disabilities in India are forced into mental hospitals and institutions, where they face unsanitary conditions, risk physical and sexual violence, and experience involuntary treatment, including electroshock therapy,Human Rights Watch said today. As one woman put it, they are “treated worse than animals.”
  • Dec 3, 2014
    Human Rights Watch has significant expertise in investigating and analyzing aid delivery in Haiti, in particular, through a human rights framework. Within weeks of the January 12, 2010 earthquake, Human Rights Watch began monitoring the aid response in Haiti and human rights concerns that were emerging. In the months after the quake, Human Rights Watch raised particular concerns with the United Nations and other key actors about gaps in protection measures for women and girls in the camps and documented a few cases of sexual violence.
  • Dec 2, 2014
    Saudi authorities detained two women on the Saudi side of the border with the United Arab Emirates on December 1, one of whom tried to drive a car across to Saudi Arabia.
  • Dec 1, 2014
    Governments should immediately carry out a new United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation to end degrading, discriminatory, and unscientific “virginity testing” of women and girls.