Women make up 70% of the world's poor population and 65% of the world's illiterate. On average, women are still paid, 65 cents to every dollar earned by men in the Western countries. Women form a marginalized group, and these statistics only paint a fraction of the picture. Still, women comprise a full half of the human race, and their interests are protected under the code of human rights. How human rights are administered and enforced must be severely reconsidered. We must reinforce the need for human rights because equality across gender is not yet a reality. As women's rights are so frequently violated, the world must constantly reaffirm all human rights. Human rights cover all humans, irrespective of gender, race, sexuality, socio-economic status or any other identifying factor. Women's rights are a necessity, but only when they are understood within the necessity of the larger concept of human rights. Women are humans. Women should, therefore, be covered under the banner of human rights.
It is true that women have individual causes and that they are a distinct social group. It is not true, however, that their interests vary from those of the rest of the human race, nor do their needs. If we are to assign human rights, then we must also include provisions for each of the subgroups categorized by this label. Secondarily, the world cannot proclaim that it values the rights of all humans, unless it acknowledges the rights of women. Therefore, women's rights are human rights. We are only as strong as our weakest member. If women's rights are not considered as part of the larger whole and if women are still a marginalized crowd, then we cannot claim any victory with respect to human rights. This concept of comprehensive equality must be understood before human rights can be properly achieved. Human rights encompass women's rights. It is a violation of all people's rights when the rights of any group are violated.
[...] There are, similarly, separate rights that are designed to specifically protect children, but we do not view these as a replacement to, or distinctively different from human rights. Just as the rights of children are protected under human rights, so too are the rights of women. Seemingly a semantic debate, this is an important qualification to assign because each group holds subcategory rights to their own freedoms and to the issues that speak directly to their interests. The point cannot be overemphasized, however, that these rights remain components of the rights that each person should extend to another, not separate entities from, human rights. [...]
[...] Women's Rights are Human Rights. Speech presented at U.N. 4th World Conference on Women Plenary Session. Beijing, China. Accessed 24 February 2011. http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the- ilo/press-and-media-centre/press-releases/WCMS_008066/lang--en/index.htm Copelon, Rhonda, Zampas, Christina, Brusie, Elizabeth, deVore, Jaqueline. “Human Rights Begin at Birth: International Law and the Claim of Fetal Rights.” Reproductive Health Matters, Vol No The Abortion Pill (Nov., 2005), pp. 120-129. Hafner- Burton, Emilie, M., Tsutsui, Kiyoteru. “Human Rights in a Globalizing World: the Paradox of Empty Promises.” The American Journal of Sociology, Vol No (Mar., 2005), pp. [...]
[...] If both are equal, then both genders demand equal treatment by the law and by society. If they are not equal, however, then there must be a separate set of human rights for each. This is a dangerous path to travel. By assuming that there are separate rights for each gender, the scholar must then also hold that one can establish and enforce these rules over the other. We are then brought back to the very basic principle of equality. Equality cannot exist if one group is consistently drafting policy over the other. [...]
[...] This also points to a need for societies to do a better job of diligently updating their practice of how human rights are monitored. As the fabric of society changes, our need for certain rights adapts. Human rights should always be adapting, which would help for a better inclusion of the rights of women, without parsing human rights down a gender line. Society has constructed a need for women's rights because, collectively, humanity has failed to properly institute human rights. [...]
[...] If we are forced to include more specifications in human rights protection documents, to define how we are protecting certain groups, then the protection given to all humans will improve. It is important, therefore, to think of women's rights as a context of human rights so that neither is neglected when considered separately or as parts of a whole. Human rights begin at birth. These are rights that are inherent for all people; they do not have to be earned. [...]
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