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In a world where one in three women experiences violence, where women do not have an equal say in decisions affecting their lives and where the predominant view on women in many cases is sexist and discriminatory – it is necessary that we all pull our weight to improve the situation. Especially for Indigenous women, who disproportionately face intersectional discrimination and multiple expressions of violence, it is urgent to challenge and end harassment and violence, discriminatory attitudes and stereotyping based on gender, ethnicity and Indigenous identity – trends that persist and are entrenched obstacles to Indigenous women’s equality.

IWGIA is committed to contributing to this struggle and convinced that a lot can be achieved because Indigenous women are powerful changemakers despite the multi-dimensional challenges they face – as they have themselves affirmed: “we have been and continue to protect, transmit, and develop our Indigenous cosmovision, our science and technologies, our arts and culture, and our Indigenous socio-political economic systems, which are in harmony with the natural laws of mother earth. We still retain the ethical and aesthetic values, the knowledge and philosophy, the spirituality, which conserves and nurtures Mother Earth. We are persisting in our struggles for self-determination and for our rights to our territories. This has been shown in our tenacity and capacity to withstand and survive the colonization happening in our lands in the last 500 years” (Beijing Declaration of Indigenous Women, 1995).

Resources on Indigenous women

Read our editorial from The Indigenous World 2022 that focuses on Indigenous women.

Read our chapters from The Indigenous World on defending the rights of Indigenous women.
Read our 2021-2025 Gender Strategy to find out more about our work toward Indigenous women & gender.

Videos

Indigenous women's voices from Bangladesh
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International Women's Day 2023 IWGIA Statement
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Judy Kipkenda - International Women's Day 2023 Message
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Judy Kipkenda - International Women's Day 2023 Message
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Indigenous women in Kenya fighting against gender-based harmful practices
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Advancing Indigenous women's knowledge and rights in combating the climate crisis
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Indigenous women and land rights

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Indigenous women in focus: leading the path to resilience

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Ending violence against Indigenous women: Virtual side event during the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council
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International Day of Indigenous Women 2022: Solidarity statement from IWGIA

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Forced sterilizations:
A path to justice
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Indigenous women's rights in the African Commission
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Samburu Girl-child Beading - A Silent Sacrifice
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Articles & Publications

Vi er ikke arabere, vi er ikke berbere, vi er amazigh
24-01-2024

Amazigh – eller imazighen i flertal – er det selvnavngivne demonym for de oprindelige folk bosat i en lang række nordafrikanske lande såsom Libyen, Niger, Algeriet og Marokko.

Oprindelige Folks kamp for inklusion og respekt for deres unikke viden og skikke: Jenifer Lasimbang til Copenhagen People Power Conference
04-10-2023

Kan sociale bevægelser udfordre de globale magtmonopoler og skabe en mere ligeværdig verden med respekt for menneskerettigheder? Dette søgte...

IWGIA Statement from the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 67
10-03-2023

Commission on the Status of Women

Sixty-seventh session

Priority theme; Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

...

Indigenous women in Kenya fighting against gender-based harmful practices
29-11-2022

The room is filled with singing voices, and I am annoyed with myself because I missed the opportunity to press record on my phone. It is moving to hear these voices because they followed a series of tough stories...

Indigenous Women participate in a community meeting
CEDAW adopts pioneer binding instrument on the rights of Indigenous women and girls
23-11-2022

At its 82nd session on 26 October, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) adopted general recommendation No. 39 on the rights of Indigenous women and girls. This is...

IWGIA & AIPP Statement to the Commission on the Status of Women 67th Session
13-10-2022

This written statement is respectfully submitted to the Commission on the Status of Women in response to the priority theme; Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving...

Lesle Jansen: “In today’s South Africa Indigenous women are invisible”
08-08-2022

BY NIKITA BULANIN FOR DEBATES INDÍGENAS

Lesle Jansen, an environmental lawyer and Indigenous Peoples rights activist from South Africa is a member of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in...

Chiapas: Indigenous women weaving territories of life
05-08-2022

BY DELMY TANIA CRUZ HERNÁNDEZ FOR DEBATES INDÍGENAS

The Zapatista journey has marked the lives of Indigenous peoples and peasant communities with its teachings of autonomy and dreams of other possible worlds. However, the southeast...

Indigenous women of Peru demand repeal of the law that arms civilians
02-08-2022

BY ONAMIAP FOR DEBATES INDÍGENAS

Under the pretext of fighting against terrorism and drug trafficking, Congress approved, by insistence, Law 31.494, which promotes the arming of civil society groups as a form of...

Violence against Indigenous women: a global challenge
25-07-2022

BY SIGNE LETH FOR DEBATES INDÍGENAS

Indigenous Women around the world face disproportional levels of violence and harassment due to past and present colonialisation of their territories, and because they are Indigenous and women....

Implementing UN Recommendations on Indigenous Women: Understanding barriers and enablers
Implementing UN Recommendations on Indigenous Women: Understanding barriers and enablers
15-06-2022

In the past two decades, the United Nations has increasingly focused attention on the human rights of Indigenous Peoples. A growing set of UN treaty bodies (TB’s) and mechanisms continually...

Written submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women: IWGIA inputs to the Report on violence against women and girls in the context of the climate crisis
01-04-2022

The consequences of climate change are often felt most acutely by Indigenous Peoples and have gendered impacts....

IWGIA inputs to the Report on violence against women and girls in the context of the climate crisis: Written submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
01-04-2022

The consequences of climate change are often felt most acutely by Indigenous Peoples and have gendered impacts....

The Indigenous World 2022: Defending the Rights of Indigenous Women
01-04-2022

With their wisdom, energy and empowerment, Indigenous women are agents of change both in their own lives, as Indigenous women, and in the lives of their peoples, as members of their communities. They plant the seeds...

Written submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes & consequences: IWGIA inputs to the Report on violence against Indigenous Women and Girls
31-01-2022

Indigenous Peoples all over the world face systemic discrimination rooted in persistent racism as well as past...

IWGIA & AIPP Joint Submission to the Commission on the Status of Women 66th Session
31-12-2021

There are numerous challenges for Indigenous Women in relation to climate change. Indigenous Women are more severely affected by the challenges to produce or collect sufficient food, or challenges of...

Submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
22-06-2021

Drafting of the General Recommendation on the Rights of Indigenous Women and Girls

With this written submission, the International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) seeks to bring forward the voices,...

Written submission to CEDAW on the Rights of Indigenous Women and Girls
03-06-2021

With this written submission, the International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) seeks to bring forward the voices, perspectives and experiences of indigenous women and girls, particularly from Africa, Asia,...

Community Gender Emergency: Indigenous women's response to multiple forms of violence and territorial dispossession in Mexico
25-05-2021

For decades, organized Indigenous women have wondered why some deaths in Mexico are more visible than others. Who decides which bodies matter? It’s time to start...

State racism, uprooting and memory loss: Indigenous women in Ecuador's prisons
05-05-2021

Official statistics obscure the fact that the number of criminalized individuals and communities belonging to Indigenous Peoples far exceeds the number of prisoners who actually self-identify as Indigenous,...

Regional and International NGOs strongly condemn the gruesome killing of Indigenous Karbi Girl in Assam, Northeast India
03-05-2021

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), Network of Indigenous Women in Asia (NIWA) and Asia Indigenous Youth...

Indigenous women deprived of their liberty in Guatemala
23-04-2021

Racism and patriarchy present profound challenges within the Guatemalan prison system. The penal system is a reflection of the discrimination experienced by Indigenous women all over: for being women, Indigenous and poor. In the...

Racist and Patriarchal Justice in Argentina: the Reina Maraz case
14-04-2021

The criminal procedure confronted by Reina Meraz, a Bolivian immigrant woman, exposes a double issue of the Argentinian judicial system: the need to train judicial officers in both gender perspective and interculturalism....

Premature deaths and prison violences in Mexico: imprisoned Indigenous women and structural racism
06-04-2021

By delving into the lives and premature deaths of four members of the Hermanas en la Sombra Editorial Collective, the author shares her insights on her 12 years long-work with Indigenous...

The Indigenous World 2021: Defending the Rights of Indigenous Women
18-03-2021

The international agenda for defending the human rights of Indigenous women seemed promising in 2020 given the Beijing +25 anniversary. We in the International Indigenous Women's Forum (FIMI) were organising to design a...

Strong Roots: Understanding the Importance of Myanmar’s Indigenous Women as Leaders in Developing Climate Change Solutions
23-02-2021

This book contains a series of essays predominantly written by Indigenous women from Myanmar. The essays show Indigenous women to be at the crux of climate change...

Indigenous Women’s realities: Insights from the Indigenous Navigator
30-11-2020

The result of a collective and community-led data-gathering exercise relying on the Indigenous Navigator framework and tools, this report identifies and discusses the experiences, needs, concerns and aspirations of...

Indigenous World 2020: Indigenous Women at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)
11-05-2020

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women. It is a functional...

Indigenous women in Africa are making their messages of equality and empowerment heard
05-03-2020

Agnes Karao Mgema, from the Parakuyo patoralists group in Tanzania, took the floor. She is the chair of Nalepo, a community based organisation that has mobilised their community to support girls from...

Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh – alive, struggling, fighting and uniting
18-02-2020

The situation for Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh in many ways echoes the situation of other Indigenous Peoples in Asia: they face heavy militarization; they are stigmatized as anti-national for wanting to be...

Indigenous Women & Climate Change
15-01-2020

Against all the odds, and despite the challenges that climate change represents for Latin America, women are demonstrating day in, day out that they have the ideas and the unique and essential skills to propose a radical change in the matrix of...

Forest Management, Women's Rights and REDD+ in Myanmar
07-06-2019

In Myanmar, women manage forests and depend on them for their livelihoods, but their tenure over these forests is insecure. Women often have distinct roles in managing forests as compared to men, and therefore also have expert...

Indigenous World 2019: Indigenous Women at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)
11-05-2019

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the main international intergovernmental body devoted exclusively to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. It plays a crucial role in...

Rights to Respect amidst the era of Climate Change: Regional Learning workshop on IP Women and Customary Land Tenure
07-12-2018

Myanmar is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, with the threat of flooding, drought, cyclones, and changing rainfall patters threatening...

The main purpose of this book is to discuss Naga society and its cultural practices with a specific focus on the status of women.
The Place of Women in Naga Society
15-03-2018

Naga society is a casteless and classless society where, traditionally, women have enjoyed a high social positioning and a fair spirit of independence, playing very central roles in family and community affairs; however, it is also a patriarchal,...

Indigenous Women
17-04-2017

Standing tall, head held high, her dignity on full display. That’s the image of an empowered indigenous woman confronting discrimination and violence, saying “enough is enough” to the tragic impact of extractive industries and other development projects in her ancestral...

Maasai women take leadership in Ngorongoro
15-02-2017
With almost 40 percent of the land designated as protected areas, Tanzania is one of the countries with major tourism revenues in Africa. In the northeast, the Ngorongoro district is the home of the well-known tourist attraction the Ngorongoro...
Denmark is still standing with indigenous peoples
25-01-2017
You have to look a bit before you will find it. But on page 33 in the new Danish development strategy you will find indigenous peoples rights as a key priority in the human rights area. The new strategy has been adopted by all the...
CEDAW: Indigenous women and girls’ rights in Bangladesh
08-11-2016
According to Kapaeeng Foundation’s statistics, from January 2007 to September 2016, there have been at least 466 reported incidents of violence against indigenous women and girls in Bangladesh. They face multiple and intersecting...
The Unspoken Vice in Samburu Community
02-11-2016

The Samburu are a Nilotic community who reside in Northern Kenya. One cultural practice among the Samburu community is Girl-Child Beading. This practice sanctions a non-marital sexual relationship between Samburu men in the ‘warrior’ age group and...

Global conference urged to include 300 million excluded women
11-05-2016
IWGIA and IDSN call on the participants in the Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen to address discrimination against hundreds of millions of Dalit and indigenous women.

Indigenous Heroines: A Saga of Tribal Women of India
05-04-2016

This book is dedicated to all the indigenous tribal women and men of India who have sacrificed their lives to protect 'Mother Earth', indigenous identity and culture; to martyrs of the freedom movement; to the thousands of innocent...

Guatemala: First trial for systematic violations of indigenous women
29-01-2016

The case of the indigenous women of Sepur Zarco, who have suffered from sexual violence, finally comes to court next week. They will be testifying against impunity.

Human Rights Council: Special Rapporteur presents Report 2015
25-09-2015
The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz has submitted her report to the Human Rights Council, which provides a summary of her activities since her previous report to the Council...
Malaysia: New project addresses violence against women
08-03-2015

In honour of International Women’s Day, we would like to take the opportunity to highlight one of our partner projects, where indigenous women have taken the lead and confronted challenges facing their community. In 2013, IWGIA...

Indigenous Women in REDD+ Making their Voice Heard
12-11-2014

Women – both indigenous and non-indigenous – have actively engaged in international and national REDD+ processes to raise their concerns regarding the potential negative impact of REDD+ on women, and to assert their right to equally...

Peru: Indigenous women address critical role in combatting climate change
22-07-2014

More than 60 Indigenous Women from Across the World Come Together to Address their Critical Role in Combating Climate Change.

At an international forum on community land and resource rights which took place 15...

Peru: Indigenous organizations to present climate change agenda
16-07-2014
The national organizations assembled in the Unity Pact of Indigenous Organizations of Peru convened a meeting to present their vision, proposals and agenda on climate change, put together by the indigenous peoples, as well...
Peru: Women raise their voice against climate change
16-07-2014

They call for all of those committed to a better future to participate in the upcoming Peoples Climate Summit to be held in Lima, parallel to the official COP20.

A National Conference of Women for Climate Justice in Defense of Mother...

Marginalisation and Impunity: Violence Against Women and Girls in the Chittagong Hill Tracts
27-05-2014

This report examines selected cases of violence against women and girls in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in 2011 and 2012. It also discusses relevant legal contexts and, based on four key...

UNPFII: Violence in the Chittagong Hill Tracts continues with impunity
22-05-2014

Kapaeeng Foundation, International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission (CHTC), International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), and Shimin Gaikou Centre organized an event titled "Marginalization and Impunity:...

Briefing Note - Post 2015 Development Process: Women
20-05-2014

Indigenous women face a range of problems related to the violation of their rights. This note focuses on the causes and how they can be addressed in the post-2015 development agenda. It has been prepared by the International Work...

Tilting the Balance: Indigenous Women, Development and Access to Justice
04-04-2014

This report on the Southeast Asia Consultation on Development, Access to Justice and the Human Rights of Indigenous women is intended as a material to be used by indigenous women, advocates, policy-makers and the...

Briefing Paper: Indigenous Women in Asia - Challenges in their access to justice
04-04-2014

This briefing paper is prepared as part of the advocacy of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) for the respect, protection and recognition of the human rights of indigenous women. In this paper, the...

Violence, Customary Law and Indigenous Women’s Rights in Asia
04-04-2014

The briefing paper analyses how gender relations in Asian indigenous societies have undergone and continue to undergo changes in response to external factors. Finally it draws conclusions and recommendations based on...

Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls: A Complex Phenomenon
04-04-2014

This briefing note, published by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and Forest Peoples Programme, is intended to develop discussion and thought about the complexity of the challenges of violence against indigenous...

“HerStory”: New publication about indigenous women by our partner AIPP
10-03-2014

In the publication “HerStory of Empowerment, Leadership and Justice” 18 indigenous women share their stories. These stories echo the realities on the ground for indigenous women and the actions of the 18 women are...

Bangladesh: International commission condemns killing of indigenous woman
21-02-2014

On February 18 the International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission (CHTC) condemned the killing of an indigenous woman in Kagrachari on February 15. The commission called upon the Government to ensure justice by...

Statement for the Human Rights Council concerning violence against women in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
20-02-2014

In the statement it is pointed out that Jumma girls and women have been targets of sexual violence since the late 1970s. A report of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission (CHTC) from...

Indigenous women request UN to nominate a facilitator for world-level meeting
04-02-2014

Indigenous Women of the Americas today requested John Ashe, President of the United Nations General Assembly, to designate an indigenous delegate who, together with the states’ representative, will facilitate...

Anaya's comments on sexual health and reproductive rights of indigenous peoples
21-01-2014

The Special Rapporteur James Anaya presented his comments during the International Expert Group Meeting held in New York last week. Anaya opened the conference outlining the barriers faced by indigenous...

Mining the WOMB of the Earth: Struggles of Indigenous Women against destructive mining
22-03-2013

This publication is a collection of stories of struggle of some indigenous women in Asia who directly face the negative impacts of mining.

These testimonies have been shared earlier in the following...

Silent Sacrifice - Girl-child beading in the Samburu Community of Kenya
27-02-2013

This report describes pilot research conducted by the Samburu Women Trust (SWT), formerly known as SWEEDO), a community based organization located in Nanyuki, Kenya. The research focused on a practice known as...

Samburu Girl Child Magazine, May - November 2012 - Issue 02: The Samburu Girl Child - The Killing Silence
23-11-2012

Samburu Women Trust (SWT): The untold stories of women and girls in Samburu community

http://www.samburuwomentrust.org/

Voices of Indigenous Women
17-06-2012

When discussing, planning and implementing sustainable development and environmental conservation project, a most important voice often tends to remain unheard: the voice of indigenous women. This despite the fact that indigenous women have valuable and...

Integrating Indigenous and Gender Aspects in Natural Resource Management: Guidelines for Practioners
05-06-2012

The aim of the guidelines is to offer conceptual and practical tools for improving natural resource management activities and to open a dialogue among practitioners as to how gender and...

Beads of Bondage
04-06-2012

This newsletter is an outcome of a project implemented by SWEEDO in Kenya. The project focuses on Samburu womens rights in relation to traditional practises. Indigenous pastoralist women in northern Kenya, including the Samburu women, suffer from many human rights...

Combating violence against indigenous women and girls
31-05-2012

The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) adopted recommendations on combating violence against indigenous women and girls at its 11th session in May 2012. The recommendations were based on those from the International...

Bangladesh: Rape and murder of indigenous girl sparks protest
11-05-2012

An 11-year old indigenous Jumma girl was allegedly raped, and then murdered, by a non-indigenous Bengali settler, Ibrahim in Longudu sub-district of the Chittagong Hill Tracts region on 9 May who has apparently been arrested...

Indonesia: Indigenous women organize themselves
24-04-2012

For two days, April 15-16, 2012, more than 200 women representing various indigenous communities in Indonesia gathered on Doa Dukono Hill in Tobelo, North Halmahera, a regency in North Maluku, to form an organization that focuses on the...

Bangladesh: Indigenous women form a network aiming at realising their rights through united movement
04-04-2012

In the first ever National Indigenous Women Conference held in Dhaka, indigenous women leaders and representatives of indigenous women’s organisations formed a network naming Bangladesh...

New documentary about indigenous women in prison in Mexico
19-10-2011

"Under the shadow of the Guamúchil" is a documentary made during the workshop "Life Stories", by Aida Hernandez Castillo, within the Atlacholoaya Morelos prison in Mexico, between 2008 and 2009. Besides the video, which can now...

The Other Word: Women and Violence in Chiapas Before and After Acteal
10-06-2001

Original title: La Otra Palabra (Ciesas 1998)

On December 22nd 1997, 32 women and 13 men in the los Naranjos encampment for displaced people in the community of Acteal, Chiapas, Mexico, were assasinated by heavily...

Indigenous Affairs 3/00 - Indigenous Women
10-11-2000

With articles from Asia, Latin America, Northern Scandivia, Africa & the Pacific this issue focuses on indigenous women; their special situation, their hopes and aspirations at the beginning of a new millenium. The articles reflect very clearly...

Indigenous Women: The Right to a Voice
10-04-1998

"Indigenous Women: The Right to a Voice" contains a collection of articles and interviews focusing on the situation of indigenous women today. With a few exceptions, the articles have been written by female indigenous grass roots activists and...

Indigenous Women on the Move
10-04-1990

This first volume of "Indigenous Women on the Move" is composed of 9 articles written by indigenous women wherein they have attempted to show their distinct realities in their different areas of the world. But distinct realities, notwithstanding, and each...

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IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting and defending Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Read more.

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Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for Indigenous Peoples worldwide. Read The Indigenous World.

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