Women's Rights are Human Rights - Shamsudeen Muhammad

By Shamsuddeen Muhammad



Womens rights are human rights. But in these troubled times, as our world becomes more unpredictable and chaotic, the rights of women and girls are being reduced, restricted and reversed. Empowering women and girls is the only way to protect their rights and make sure they can realize their full potential. Historic imbalances in power relations between men and women, exacerbated by growing inequalities within and between societies and countries, are leading to greater discrimination against women and girls. Around the world, tradition, cultural values and religion are being misused to curtail womens rights, to entrench sexism and defend misogynistic practices. Womens legal rights, which have never been equal to men on any continent, are being eroded further. Womens rights over their own bodies are questioned and undermined. Women are routinely targeted for intimidation and harassment in cyberspace and in real life. In the worst cases, extremists and terrorists build their ideologies around the subjugation of women and girls and single them out for sexual and gender-based violence, forced marriage and virtual enslavement.

Despite some improvements, leadership positions across the board are still held by men, and the economic gender gap is widening, thanks to outdated attitudes and entrenched male chauvinism. We must change this, by empowering women at all levels, enabling their voices to be heard and giving them control over their own lives and over the future of our world. Denying the rights of women and girls is not only wrong in itself; it has a serious social and economic impact that holds us all back. Gender equality has a transformative effect that is essential to fully functioning communities, societies and economies. During much of its history, the struggle for equality has been a lengthy vigorous fight that has affected a variety of races and sex. Most movements and theories had leaders who inspired and rallied fellow believers in a common cause. Often the leaders of these movements motivated their followers with inspirational speeches that included evidence from founding documents, to our nations beliefs supporting their ideas. Similarly, many influential writers for womens rights followed in the way of abolitionist, who struggled for many years to overturn slavery. Writers such as, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Sanger, and Sojourner Truth, spoke out in protest against unequal treatment against women. For much of American history, women were not considered equal to men and were denied equality in many areas of life. Most women had no legal identity apart from their husbands. Married women could not hold property in their own names, sue or be sued, make contracts, sit on a jury, write a will, or vote.

Similarly, women didntt have the same opportunities for education and careers that men did. Yet, many women found ways to show their intelligence, courage, and leadership. Despite this, they played an important role in the abolition of the Slave Trade and slavery in the British colonies. Throughout the 1800s into the 1900s, the womens rights movement worked to change womens status in society. Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the first U.S. womens rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss womens civil rights. The organizers of this event considered them patriots and viewed womens rights as part of the American Revolutions ideals of equality and justice for all. At the convention in Seneca Falls, more than 300 men and women discussed the Declaration and debated 12 resolutions that proclaimed womens rights and equality.

Women had it difficult in the mid-1800s to early 1900s. There was a difference in the treatment of men and women then. Married women were legally dead in the eyes of the law. Women were not even allowed to vote until August 1920. They were not allowed to enter professions such as medicine or law. There were no chances of women getting an education then because no college or university would accept a female with only a few exceptions. Then the first Women's Rights Convention was held on July nineteenth and twentieth in 1848. The convention was assembled as planned, and over the two days of discussion, the Declaration of Sentiments and twelve resolutions received agreement and endorsement, one by one, with a few amendments. The only resolution that did not pass unanimously was the call for women's authorization. The thought that women should be allowed to vote in elections was impossible to some. At the convention, debate over the woman's vote was the main concern.

Women's Rights Conventions were held on a regular basis from 1850 until the start of the Civil War. Some drew such large crowds that people had to be turned away for lack of meeting space. The women's rights movement of the late nineteenth century went on to address the wide range of issues spelled out at the Seneca Falls Convention. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and women like Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Sojourner Truth, who were pioneer theorists, traveled the country lecturing and organizing for the next forty years. Winning the right to vote was the key issue, since the vote would provide the means to accomplish the other amendments. The campaign for woman's right to vote ran across so much continuous opposition that it took 72 years for the women and their male supporters to win. They finally received the right to vote in 1920.

Womens access to education and health services has benefits for their families and communities that extend to future generations. An extra year in school can add up to 25 per cent to a girls future income.  When women participate fully in the labour force, it creates opportunities and generates growth. Closing the gender gap in employment could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025. Increasing the proportion of women in public institutions makes them more representative, increases innovation, improves decision-making and benefits whole societies.

Gender equality is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the global plan agreed by leaders of all countries to meet the challenges we face. Sustainable Development Goal 5 calls specifically for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and this is central to the achievement of all the 17 SDGs. Women everyday are getting persecuted for rights we have taken for granted. Gender equality should be practiced around the world because women are also humans and should have equal rights as men. Women should also have the capability to provide for their family and women are naturally more talented than men in certain occupation. It is a fact that their work is not appreciated as must as mens, although they have to sacrifice a lot for their family and career. Women should be treated equal just like men. Men are neither perfect nor better and should not be trusted with all the important positions and jobs. Women should be given the opportunity to participate in politics and to provide for their family.

History tells us that in ancient times women used to possess massive power and several had impenetrable courage under difficult circumstances. Many women have ruled over vast empires successfully and effectively. Queen Elizabeth for example had led England to defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588. (Briscoe, Alexandra) Queen Hatshepsut, female pharaoh of Egypt, had managed to maintain peace and reestablish the trade networks. (Glueck, Grace) People must recognize that women will never gain freedom until they are respected as humans. Women should be entitled to equal rights just like men. Many religions, cultures and even countries deny the fact that women are equal. But many of the religions, cultures and countries are also against democracy and most importantly human rights. Women need full human status in their own countries.

Women negotiators increase the chances of sustainable peace, and women peacekeepers decrease the chances of sexual exploitation and abuse. United Nation should establish a clear road map with benchmarks to achieve gender parity across the system so as it will truly represent the people we serve. Previous targets have not been met. Now we must move from ambition to action. On International Womens Day, let us all pledge to do everything we can to overcome entrenched prejudice, support engagement and activism, and promote gender equality and womens empowerment.

Written by: Shamsuddeen Muhammad
G-mail: Shamsuddeenm575@gmail.com
Contact: +2347056220944



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