On 9 August, we commemorate International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples to bring to bring attention to the rights and achievements of indigenous peoples. This year, marks the tenth anniversary of the UN General Assembly adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—the most comprehensive international agreement on indigenous peoples’ rights.

Ten years since the Declaration, indigenous peoples around the world have made significant progress in advocating for their rights. Yet, there continues to be a gap between policy and action. Indigenous peoples continue to face exclusion, marginalization and major challenges in enjoying their basic rights. Indigenous women and girls are particularly vulnerable and continue to face disproportionate levels of discrimination and violence. More than one in three indigenous women are raped during their lifetime and they also show higher-than-average rates of maternal mortality, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

Despite the continued threats to their security, ancestral lands and the environment upon which they depend, indigenous women often serve as transmitters of indigenous knowledge and cultures. Indigenous peoples have sophisticated ecological knowledge and adaptive responses to climate variability, including environmental practices that lower carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development makes the promise to “leave no one behind”. Indigenous peoples’ and indigenous women’s rights, voices and leadership must be equally protected and promoted, to achieve sustainable development for all.

On the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, here are some voices of indigenous women from around the world.



In Numbers

       



Stories

Stepping out of the Boma: Maasai women of Tanzania take charge of their own lives and livelihood From where I stand: “We must be at the table making decisions” From where I stand: “When I’m stung, I am reminded of how strong I already am”
In Tanzania, UN Women and partner workshops have empowered hundreds of Maasai women to acquire land, find additional employment and diversify their economic activities to supplement their families’ income. Read more >>> For Pratima Gurung from Nepal, empowering indigenous women with disabilities starts with making them count as active participants and decision-makers, not just observers of decisions. She points to the need to strengthen their voices in disability fora, as well as indigenous peoples’ fora. Read more >>> Oralia Ruano Lima was among the first women in her indigenous community to join an all-female entrepreneurship project as a beekeeper. Today the women beekeepers of Urlanta, Guatemala, are bringing in sustainable jobs and income to their rural communities, and changing mindsets and attitudes towards women. Read more >>>

 


 

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