Seventy-six women from the arts, business world, law and politics, including Emma Watson, Keira Knightley and Emma Thompson, call on governments to support and protect women fighting for their rights around the world

On International Women’s Day 2019, it’s an astonishing fact that in no country in the world do women enjoy the same rights or opportunities as men. Every day, women and girls face discrimination, poverty and violence just because they are women. Globally, at least one in three women experience violence in their lifetime. Women work longer hours and are paid less. Fewer than one in four parliamentarians worldwide are women. Women’s rights are human rights, yet women and girls everywhere are still denied their rights.

As momentum behind the #MeToo movement continues to grow, we are witnessing unprecedented acknowledgment of the challenges women face. Now, more than ever, we have an opportunity to overcome the systemic oppression that denies women their rights. It’s time to move on from conversations to action. To do so, women in all their diversity – women of every nationality, race, ability, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity – need to have their voices heard and respected. Every woman should have the freedom to make her own choices and claim her rights. Yet, when women speak out, attempt to have a say in the decisions affecting their lives or defend their rights, far too often they are silenced, undermined and even endangered. Women are at risk of backlash, censorship and violence wherever they speak out, both online and offline. The expertise and experiences of women human rights defenders are not being recognised or trusted. Women are not being meaningfully consulted on issues that directly impact them. Women who speak out are facing all forms of violence and abuse. This has to stop.

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