WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
31 Aug 2023 | Video

Gendered Threats Against Human Rights Leaders in Colombia

This week, WOLA hosted an event with Dr. Julia Zulver and Dr. Kiran Stallone diving into the findings from their upcoming article “The Gendered Risks of Social Leadership in Contexts Governed by Armed Groups: Evidence from Colombia.” Importantly, while men social leaders and human rights defenders are killed more often than their women counterparts, Dr. Zulver and Dr. Stallone’s research demonstrates the importance of how the content and style of threats against men and women leaders are different and gendered.

The experts identified four principal patterns of threats against women mobilizing in activism and social leadership, which seek to prevent women’s political empowerment and participation in public spaces.

  • They were told to “stay at home”
  • They faced sexual violence and threats
  • Their family members were threatened
  • They were subjected to derogatory, sexualized, racist, and gendered attacks

Dr. Stallone emphasized that gender matters in assessing the biases about both men and women social leaders. According to their research, hegemonic masculinities are at the root of the discrimination that punishes women leaders. Dr. Zulver concluded that these threats directly challenge women’s right to exist and work in public spaces as opposed to the private space of their homes.