Women’s Rights

Women’s Rights  
A major global women’s rights treaty was ratified by the majority of the world’s nations a few decades ago.Women’s rights around the world is an important indicator to understand global well-being.
Yet, despite many successes in empowering women, numerous issues still exist in all areas of life, ranging from the cultural, political to the economic. For example, women often work more than men, yet are paid less; gender discrimination affects girls and women throughout their lifetime; and women and girls are often are the ones that suffer the most poverty.
Many may think that women’s rights are only an issue in countries where religion is law, such as many Muslim countries. Or even worse, some may think this is no longer an issue at all. But reading this report about the United Nation’s Women’s Treaty and how an increasing number of countries are lodging reservations, will show otherwise.

Gender equality furthers the cause of child survival and development for all of society, so the importance of women’s rights and gender equality should not be underestimated.
For example

    • Morocco gave women greater equality and protection of their human rights within marriage and divorce by passing a new family code in 2004
    • India has accepted legal obligations to eliminate discrimination against women and outlawed sexual harassment in the workplace
    • In Cameroon, the Convention is applied in local courts and groundbreaking decisions on gender equality are being made by the country’s high courts
    • Mexico passed a law in 2007 toughening its laws on violence against women
    • And the CEDAW committee in Austria decided two complaints against Austria concerning domestic violence in 2007
    • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also noted that within the UN itself, the number of women in senior posts has increased by 40 percent
    • “The Convention has been used to challenge discriminatory laws, interpret ambiguous provisions or where the law is silent, to confer rights on women,” Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said
Lack Of Progress   
Thirty years after the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), many girls and women still do not have equal opportunities to realize rights recognized by law. In many countries, women are not entitled to own property or inherit land. Social exclusion, “honor” killings, female genital mutilation, trafficking, restricted mobility and early marriage among others, deny the right to health to women and girls and increase illness and death throughout the life-course.We will not see sustainable progress unless we fix failures in health systems and society so that girls and women enjoy equal access to health information and services, education, employment and political positions.

Women And Climate Change 

Many of the above factors also combine to make women more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) explains:
Women—particularly those in poor countries—will be affected differently than men. They are among the most vulnerable to climate change, partly because in many countries they make up the larger share of the agricultural work force and partly because they tend to have access to fewer income-earning opportunities. Women manage households and care for family members, which often limits their mobility and increases their vulnerability to sudden weather-related natural disasters. Drought and erratic rainfall force women to work harder to secure food, water and energy for their homes. Girls drop out of school to help their mothers with these tasks. This cycle of deprivation, poverty and inequality undermines the social capital needed to deal effectively with climate change.

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