The Global Fight For Women’s Rights
When people speak of women’s rights they mean more than just the right to vote and be paid equally for their work. They mean the right to live free from violence and discrimination, to be educated, to have access to healthcare and clean water, to own property, and to make decisions about their bodies and their families’. These rights are fundamental to a decent life for all. The fight for women’s rights is a global issue that requires all nations to participate.
Across the world, most people agree that it is important to guarantee women’s rights. In fact, a median of 94% in Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Greece, France and Germany say that it is very important to give women the same rights as men. However, in many countries, including Nigeria, Japan, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Tunisia and Colombia, substantial shares are pessimistic about the chances of achieving this goal.
There are numerous obstacles to achieving equal rights for women and men. One of the most serious is that violence against women continues to increase and is often fuelled by inadequate laws, lack of access to justice, and impunity for those who commit these crimes. The lack of gender-sensitive policies also limits women’s access to education and health care services. In addition, in 178 countries women face some form of legal barriers that hinder their full economic participation, and only 86 countries pay women equal wages for equal work.
In order to achieve full equality, all women must be able to participate in all aspects of political and civil life. This includes the right to participate in elections and to vote for candidates of their choice, as well as to hold public office. This is a human right guaranteed under international law, which states that “All women and girls have the right to take part in all activities of society, at all levels, without discrimination on the ground of sex”.
The most important issue is empowering women to participate in the process of shaping their own destiny. This can be done by enabling them to take leadership roles in their communities, and by ensuring that they have access to the information and services they need, such as education, healthcare and financial services. In addition, it is essential to address harmful patriarchal traditions, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation, which deprive girls of a healthy future and increase their risk of death and injury during pregnancy and childbirth.
Those who want to see more progress on women’s rights should encourage their governments to sign and ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, an international bill of rights, which over 180 countries have already done. This will help to promote awareness of the importance of guaranteeing these rights to women everywhere.