New Report on Civil Society Strategies to Counter the Anti-gender Movement


In recent years, human rights defenders have begun facing increasing challenges to human rights. These challenges include: growing laws and practices designed to suppress civil society; rollbacks to progress made on women's human rights; attacks and threats by private actors against human rights defenders; and growing public misunderstanding of their work and human rights overall. This backlash, carried out by actors referred to as anti-gender movement or far right, is networked, well-resourced, and globally networked. Yet in the face of such attacks, civil society has proven resilient, creative, and resourceful in its strategies to counter the anti-gender movement and continue safeguarding women's human rights.

The Advocates for Human Rights undertook human rights fact-finding to document the promising practices used by civil society in the face of these challenges. Our 2023 report, Strategies Of Civil Society To Counter The Far-Right Backlash Against Human Rights, describes the innovative strategies undertaken by civil society in response to anti-gender activity, including:

  • re-thinking strategies on ratification of the Istanbul Convention;
  • focusing on the training and education of new activists and supporters, as well wider stakeholders and actors;
  • increasing visibility in creative ways;
  • monitoring and data collection to protect women and counter disinformation;
  • building coalitions as well as creating unconventional alliances;
  • finding allies with smaller, sympathetic groups within the opposition;
  • determining alternative, innovative ways to engage with politicians and navigate the political system;
  • establishing new creative ways to counter harmful messaging from the anti-gender movement;
  • considering alternative, more flexible ways for HRDs to incorporate and assemble; and
  • staying resilient.

This report also describes the needs of civil society to continue working effectively and with enjoyment of freedom of association and assembly.