Women, Gender, Human Rights and Feminism
The global movement for equal rights and protection of women is one that has existed right from the early 1900s and came about due to the discrimination against women in society. Women and girls around the world are subject to harmful practices, violence, bias and unfair treatments founded on the belief that they are the lesser gender and this has led to the fight to change the status quo by the feminism movement.
Today, the rights women enjoy such as access to education, equitable pay with men, right to own property, right to initiate divorce proceedings or make decisions about their bodies were not always privileges available to the female gender. Similarly, civil rights encompassing the freedom to vote, contest, enter into contracts, join the military and participate in politics had not always been accessible to women.
A number of social, economic, civil and political liberties enjoyed by women today were fought and struggled for by the feminism movement and this is the only reason a woman can boldly claim that “women’s rights are human rights”. In fact, these rights have been supported by law and enshrined in the constitution of various nations allowing for women equality.
Yet, while a lot of progress has been made, a lot still needs to be done in promoting the rights of women. The question of whether a woman has the right to decide if and when to have a child is still in contention and a large percentage of women in the world still battle with poverty, gender inequality in work, education and representation. In the area of politics, fewer women hold leadership positions worldwide and violence against women sexual and reproductive rights are still prevalent.
It is notable that Sustainable Goal 5 of the United Nations stands for gender equality and is aimed at ending gender-based violence, eliminating child marriage and female genital mutilation, ensuring equal access to education and expanding economic opportunities for women. The fact that it is a ‘goal’ points out that the status quo is the contrary.
Just like the solidarity of the feminism movement, it is important now for governments to stand together to ensure this goal is achieved and the constitutional rights accrued to women are protected. Equality laws should be effectively implemented and priority should be given to women’s group at grassroots levels by sustainable structured imitated to address women right. New efforts should also be launched aimed at strengthening organizations focused on women empowerment and opportunities, as this social issue remains a pressing need. To achieve a world where every woman can realize and enjoy her human rights, have a political voice, and enjoy the right to self-determination is the only way the society can truly boast of equality. And when this happens, global development and transformation