Women’s Rights in the 21st Century
The International Council of Women was a powerful force in the early 20th century, advocating women’s rights across national boundaries. Their work was aided by the League of Nations and the United Nations post World War II. They fought for a world free of discrimination.
After their first meeting, the International Council of Women expanded its focus to include the arts, professional organizations, and trade unions. It also included Blacks, Asians, and lesbians. The International Council of Women was the first women’s organization to work across national boundaries.
Over seven generations, dramatic social changes have occurred. In addition to sexual rights, women have made deliberate changes to their family and employment lives. However, discrimination remains a problem throughout the world. Despite these efforts, women still face significant health, safety, and economic risks.
Gender discrimination is a violation of human rights and a major cause of violence against women. Some examples of the scourge are rape, forced pregnancy and abortion, and sexual assault. Fortunately, there are strategies and tactics to fight the scourge. For example, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project focuses on issues of employment, sexual assault, and violence against women. These groups work to ensure that all women are able to achieve their rights.
Since 1975, the UN has held a series of conferences to promote gender equality. The UN has also drafted an international bill of rights for women. This treaty, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), has been adopted by over 180 states and is the most comprehensive human rights treaty on women’s rights. CEDAW requires governments to end discrimination against women and take actions to modify social and cultural patterns that perpetuate discrimination.
Today, there are thousands of activists, lobbyists, and political strategists working to secure the rights of women. These groups are dedicated to ensuring that women are able to exercise their rights, including the right to vote. Many of these groups are supported by the Global Fund for Women. The fund works to address gender-based violence, such as rape and forced pregnancy, and to improve women’s access to health care and education.
A survey conducted in 2002 revealed that 26 per cent of ever-partnered women aged 15 and older have experienced sexual violence. In fact, this is the most common form of violence against women. While many laws prohibit discrimination against women, a lack of sanctions and legal protections contributes to the repetition of crimes.
Among the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals are targets for the elimination of gender-based violence. These targets include expanding women’s economic opportunities, reducing the burdens of unpaid care work, and ensuring equal access to reproductive health care.
There are a number of regional human rights treaties that focus on women’s rights. As of May 2014, 188 states have joined CEDAW. Although this treaty has been successful in addressing some of the most critical issues facing women, it is not without its challenges.