Civil Society Meets for Workshop on the Shrinking Space for the Feminist Movement

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Media Advisory

Suva, Fiji — Civil society organisations globally are uniting in the Pacific on Tuesday 5 December to discuss the critical need to raise women's voices and protect the shrinking space for the global feminist movement during 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Photo: UN Women/Caitlin Gordon-King

The International Civil Society Week (ICSW) global conference is being held from 4-8 December in Suva, Fiji, and includes a workshop called 'Shrinking Space for the Feminist Movement' to share the challenges and opportunities faced by actors in feminist movements. The 5 December workshop is hosted by UN Women, FRIDA, Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Right in Asia and Pacific, CIVICUS, DIVA for Equality, and Haus of Khameleon.

Workshop presenters will discuss how the global feminist movement faces myriad restrictions because it challenges hetero-patriarchal systems; systems that perpetuate the authority of men and heterosexuality over women and other gender identities and sexual orientations.

Discussions will include how gender-based violence and discrimination, perpetrated by both state and non-state actors, are a grave violation of human rights deeply rooted in gender inequality and gender-based discrimination. These actions work to silence women human rights defenders and LGBTIQ activists, limiting their capacity to do their work in civic spaces such as Egypt, Uganda and Venezuela. These spaces are already contested, complex and restricted.

Additionally, there will be commentary around the multiple layers of restrictions imposed on women human rights defenders, LGBTIQ activists and environmental, indigenous and land rights activists is testament that the space of feminist movements is closing at an alarming rate.

Photo: UN Women/Caitlin Gordon-King

In response to these challenges, UN Women, FRIDA, Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Right in Asia and Pacific, CIVICUS, DIVA for Equality, and Haus of Khameleon are hosting the 'Shrinking Space' workshop, to address the interlocking systems of oppression and exclusion faced by actors in the feminist movements.

Participants will focus on patterns of discrimination and trends in gender-based violence in both Fiji and the Pacific region to identify ways in which those in the feminist movement can engage in effective advocacy to ensure recognition and support for women human rights defenders and LGBTIQ activists. The workshop will include a world café session where activists from different regions of the world will share experiences about the restrictions they face in their different contexts.

During the workshop, participants will discuss and identify strategic responses to the restrictions to ensure a conducive environment for the feminist movement and a recognition by different stakeholders of the contributions they make to society. Speakers include women human rights defenders and LGBTIQ activists from different parts of the world. The global community can join the discussions on social media, using the twitter handle #SheDefends.

Media Invitation:

Workshop: Shrinking Space for the Feminist Movement

Date and time: Tuesday 5 December 2017 between 9 AM - 12 PM

Venue: University of the South Pacific, Fiji, Room 0014-009A+B (cartography lab).

Media Contact:

Sara Katrine Brandt
Policy and Research Analyst, CIVICUS (World Alliance for Citizen Participation)
Email:, Tel: +679 2711408 (Fiji), Twitter: @brandt_sara

Jacqui Berrell
Communications & Advocacy Consultant
UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office
Email:, Tel: +(679) 330 1178 Ext: 125