Women's Rights Committee

The Women's Rights Committee (WRC) is a group of concerned and motivated women's rights advocates from Los Angeles who seek to support the Women's Rights Division through public education events, media outreach and fundraising.

The Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch was established in 1990 to monitor state-sponsored and state-tolerated violence against women and sex discrimination in all regions of the world.

Women's Rights Committee Initiatives

Special Speaker Series
The WRC hosts a periodic speaker series to illuminate issues facing women and girls around the world. In past events, experts from the field have addressed issues ranging from the status of women's rights in post-conflict societies to discrimination and violence against women in the Middle East.

Advocacy In May 2008, the Women’s Rights Committee, along with the California Committee South and Young Advocates, assisted US Program Researcher Sarah Tofte in research and advocacy. Sarah is currently performing research for a report and advocacy focused on the failure to timely test DNA evidence collected in sexual assault cases in the United States. Without timely testing, these assault cases remain unsolved, and the victims without justice. Early on in her research, Sarah targeted Los Angeles for an in-depth case study in light of the backlog of more than 7,000 “rape kits” in Los Angeles that shockingly continues to grow. In September, Sarah returned to Los Angeles for follow up research, meeting with the Women’s Rights Committee and the Young Advocates, to update them on her progress and to enlist their assistance with the anticipated release of her report in Los Angeles in 2009. Women's Voices for Human Rights: Annual Celebration Event
Since 2003, the WRC has hosted an annual public event to celebrate advances in the global women's rights movement, increase awareness of ongoing abuses against women, and raise funds to support the work of the Women's Rights Division. Past events have featured live musical acts, a Casino Night and a film screening. On June 1, 2008, Cries from the Heart premiered at the Henry Fonda Theater in Los Angeles, featuring a star-studded cast of actors performing prose, poetry and excerpts from Human Rights Watch Reports. Thanks to the hard work of the Women's Rights Committee and many other supporters, the debut performance was a tremendous success, attracting more than 300 guests and a talented cast of actors including Anne Archer, Billy Baldwin, Danny Glover and Sandra Oh. The theme of the evening was women and imprisonment. The mood was lightened by two beautiful musical performances by folk singer Holly Near and electric violinist Lili Haydn. After the performance, cast members and guests mingled over dinner and cocktails on the rooftop of the Henry Fonda Theater. Membership Anyone may become a member of the Women's Rights Committee. Though not a requirement of membership, most WRC members support the Women's Rights Division through a financial contribution at levels ranging from $100 to $5,000 a year. Members are also invited to participate in WRC events, briefings and advocacy initiatives.

We encourage members to regularly visit the Women’s Rights Division website to keep informed of the latest reports and campaigns.

To make a donation to the Women's Rights Division or for more information on joining the Committee contact Hava Manasse at manassh@hrw.org in HRW LA office. 

Executive Committee Susi Bahat, Co-Chair
Nancy Cushing-Jones, Co-Chair
Lorraine Loder, Co-Chair
Barbara Silberbusch, Co-Chair
Ellen DuBois, Vice Chair
Mary Garvey, Vice Chair
Erica Rothschild, Vice Chair
Committee Members Christina Gray Cheryl Justice Claudia Kahn Sheila King Shari Leinwand Carol Scott Robert W. Shaffer. Jr. Neesha Sodha