The 2020 Declaration on Women’s Rights

We, the undersigned women’s groups and feminist organizations, collectively representing nearly a thousand women’s organizations, held a meeting on October 15, 2020, to discuss the attacks on the Istanbul Convention and our other common problems. We issue this joint declaration to draw attention to the ongoing discrimination and violence, as well as increasing hardship and human rights violations, faced by women worldwide, and to reaffirm that our rights are non-negotiable.

We observe with deep concern that

  • patriarchal structures, neoliberal policies, authoritarian governance, militarism, and warfare have long been violating women’s and girls’ rights and endangering their lives;
  • the deepening of poverty, economic inequality, climate change, and the current COVID-19 pandemic have further aggravated the situation, overwhelming women of all classes, races, ethnicities, and nationalities in various ways and degrees;
  • gender-based discrimination and violence, through word and deed, are committed by numerous governments and groups of different political orientations, religions, and cultures;
  • despite their differences, these state and non-state actors subscribe to the same misogynist, homophobic, and transphobic patriarchal ideology.

We demand that

  • all state agencies, private institutions and civil society organizations uphold the principle of equality in human dignity, which is the foundation of international human rights;
  • all governments seek gender equality by collaborating with women’s organizations and through adequately funded and effectively implemented policies that ensure the realization of women’s and girls’ economic, political, social, cultural, sexual, and reproductive rights;
  • all governments pursue international cooperation and multilateral policies to address global crises, realize and protect human rights in all territories, and ensure gender equality;
  • all parliaments fulfill their legislative function and replace discriminatory laws with those based on the principle of gender equality, as well as their regulatory function and hold governments accountable;
  • all local, national and global media stop negative stereotypes, expose public and private perpetrators of gender-based violence and women’s rights violations, and hold negligent agencies accountable;
  • all international organizations and agencies help realize women’s and girls’ rights, end all sexual orientation and gender-related discrimination, and ensure gender equality without compromise, through effective steering, monitoring, and follow up mechanisms;
  • all international human rights instruments – especially the Istanbul Convention, the Beijing Platform for Action, CEDAW, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child – be defended against misrepresentations, ratified by all states, and fully implemented by states parties.

We declare that

  • we are more determined than ever;
  • despite the shrinking democratic space, we will continue to confront patriarchal violence, misinformation, masculinist discourses, and attacks on our hard-won rights;
  • we will work toward building a world of equality, justice, and peace – together, in sisterhood and transnational solidarity!


Signatories to the 2020 Declaration on Women’s Rights

Advocates for Human Rights, United States
Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation, Bulgaria
Great Coalition for Equality and Choice, Poland
Hungarian Women’s Lobby, Hungary
Organization for Promotion of Women’s Rights (DOMINE), Croatia
Ukrainian Women Lawyers Association (JURFEM), Ukraine
Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Women’s Network Croatia, Croatia
Women’s Platform for Equality (EŞİK), Turkey
Women’s Rights Center, Poland
Women’s Support and Information Center (NPO), Estonia
European Women’s Lobby (Supporting organization)