Womens Rights Essay

1414 words - 6 pages

'Human Rights Are Womens Rights Using political strategies, women are gaining power around the world by Peggy Curlin Peggy Curlin is president of the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), a woman-focused nonprofit international organization founded in 1975. Its mission is to empower women at all levels of society to be full partners in development. You can contact CEDPA at 1400 Sixteenth Street, NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20036; Tel: 202/667-1142; Fax: 202/332-4496; website: www.cedpa.org. CEDPA also has field offices in Egypt, Ghana, India, Nepal, Nigeria, Romania, and Russia.This past decade has brought about a quiet revolution in what women think about themselves and in many respects what society thinks about them. Since the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995), women have gained a new perspective from their traditional roles as caregivers for children and the elderly -- they have found a new voice to express the need for more economic and political independence.We have to look no further than our own political process to see that "womens issues" (i.e. education and healthcare) are high on the agendas of both political parties. If this is true in northern countries, then what about the women south of the Equator? Has their lower status, their poverty and their overwhelming burden of hard work and disease kept women silent and passive? The answer is an overwhelming, "No!" At the 1995 UN World Conference on Women, participants included high-level representatives of member states, among them First Lady Hillary Clinton, and 50,000 non-governmental women observers. In June 2000, the governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will meet in a Special Session of the UN General Assembly in New York to measure the progress governments have made toward fulfilling the Beijing Platform for Action. The Platform calls for a human rights-based approach to womens development, recognizing that gender discrimination deters the achievement of womens rights and full citizenship. Mrs. Clinton said it best in her speech to the non-governmental women when she declared "human rights are womens rights." While no country except Afghanistan has gone backward, few countries have lived up to the promises they made to women five years ago in Beijing. Women around the world know that to wait for governments to act is to wait too long. They have, as women always do, taken matters into their own hands. The real story comes from them -- their success in using political strategies that addressed barriers and stimulated the action agenda for women, resulting in recognition by power brokers.Lessons Learned From Indonesia to El Salvador, women have taken risks, reached out to the poorest and most needy in their countries, and learned many lessons along the often torturous road to becoming full partners in development.In the quest for womens rights, the lessons learned are important to national development and to geopolitical issues. They...

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