Exclusive conference coverage from openDemocracy 50.50: Jennifer Allsopp writes Women human rights defenders: reigniting the embers for our Defending the Defenders conference.
When you think of the word freedom fighter, the image that comes to mind for many is that of a confident, charismatic, lone man. This is the image I grew up with. At university, my wardrobe proudly boasted both Martin Luther King andMahatma Gandhi T shirts, and my diary had their words scrawled in quotation marks. At 18 I headed to Cuba as the history that I’d read told me that I’d find my heroes in the military museums there – I didn’t. Back then I hadn’t realised that I could find heroes in the present. At school you’re taught that everything important was done by men, in the past, and that it was often bloody and violent. We didn’t even learn the word Suffragette, and the Northern Ireland peace process was totally off the curriculum. We heard a bit about a woman called Margaret Thatcher, but I decided not to pursue that relationship as, let it be said, I found scant inspiration there. In short, I grew up in a world without women human rights defenders.
openDemocracy 50.50 has been covering the Nobel Women’s Initiative biennial conferences since 2007 in articles written by participants and openDemocracy’s own authors. Visit their website for more coverage of our 2015 International Conference: Defending the Defenders.