The Rights of Women and Girls
Today, women represent half of the world’s population and half of its potential. Gender equality is a fundamental human right, and women need equal access to all the rights and opportunities that men enjoy. Gender equality helps create peaceful societies and unleash human potential. Empowering women means spurring economic growth and productivity. Read on to learn more about the rights of women and girls. Here are some key examples of the inequality women face today. And don’t forget to add your voice, too.
Women’s reproductive health is an important issue that is still not well-protected in many parts of the world. Over half of women and girls worldwide experience violence in their lifetime. Of all women murdered in 2017, 58% were killed by a family member or intimate partner. In some countries, women aren’t even on equal footing with men in politics. In addition, women face blatant discrimination in labour markets and economic assets. And violence directed specifically against women is another obstacle to their participation in the political process. In some regions, the high maternal mortality rate continues, and unpaid care work limits women’s enjoyment of rights.
The United Nations established the Commission on the Status of Women in 1946. This body is the primary global policy-making body, and it helped ensure gender-neutral language in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The international feminist movement gained momentum during the 1970s. In 1975, the UN declared 1975 to be the International Women’s Year, organized the first World Conference on Women, and designated the decade of 1976-1985 as the UN Decade for Women.
The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals set specific targets to combat poverty and achieve gender equality. However, UN Women reports that there has been uneven progress on these targets. Although more women are now in school, there are still many girls who do not. And women’s rights remain in jeopardy in many areas that weren’t included in the millennium goals. In addition, women’s rights remain under threat in the most underprivileged areas.
The Maputo Protocol, for example, specifies the rights of women in African countries. The Protocol also prohibits genital mutilation in Africa. It was adopted on 11 July 2003 and entered into force on 25 November 2005. The Protocol states that women have the right to dignity and equality in marriage. Further, the Maputo Protocol focuses on the rights of women in sexual violence and childbirth. This is the most comprehensive human rights treaty for women, defining the rights of women as equal with those of men.
Violence against women is widespread and can take many forms. Sexual assault is one of the most common forms of gender-based violence, affecting one in five women. It can also include honour crimes. The Nigerian military has even subjected women to sexual violence after they fled Boko Haram attacks. In addition, thirty percent of women in relationships experience some form of physical or sexual violence. For this reason, women are more likely to suffer from honour crimes than men.