All over the world, women suffer from discrimination and violence. In many states, discrimination is enshrined in both criminal and civil law relating to marriage, inheritance, and property. But even in countries where women have been able to achieve equality in law, this is often illusory in practice. In public decision-making bodies, women remain largely under-represented. Violence against them often flourishes due to the lack of adequate laws, obstacles to victims' access to justice, or inaction by public authorities who stand their trivialization. The lack of punishment for perpetrators of violence helps create a culture of impunity that fosters the repetition of these crimes. However, women are not only victims. Everywhere, they are the main actors of their own emancipation.
What is the definition of human rights?
Rights are rules that describe the freedoms guaranteed to each person and the duties associated with those freedoms, whether it is what people can hope to achieve on the one hand and what they are allowed to do on the one hand.
Since the 19th century, many societies around the world have been calling for rights for women and girls. These rights can be theoretical (registration in the jurisdiction of a state) or real (tangible practices). However, knowing about the rights of girls and women is the first step in eliminating discrimination against them.
In 1948, the United Nations decided to approve the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a text bringing together fundamental rights and the rights applicable to all human beings, without distinction, and equal in value.
In 1993, the United Nations declared the rights of women and girls as human rights during the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna on June 25. This event gave rise to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). For the first time, this text establishes in black and white that girls and women have the same rights as boys and men.
What are the different women's rights?
The right to vote
The right to bodily integrity and autonomy
The right to hold public office
The right to work at a salary equal (with equal skills) to that of men
The right to education
The right to serve as a soldier
The right to security
The freedom to live free from sexism and violence
The right to equality before the law
The right to work
The right to property
The right to marry
The right to enter into a contract
The freedom to live free from the stereotypical gender role.
Women's personal rights:
Women enjoy a number of personal rights, including:
- The right to express an opinion.
- The right to work or not.
- The right to citizenship.
Women's political rights:
Women enjoy a set of political rights approved by the Committee on Women in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which are:
- Participate in public and political decision-making, and contribute to the formation and implementation of government policies.
- Voting in elections and general referenda.
- Assuming government jobs at all levels.
- Contributing to international organizations and non-governmental organizations.
- Joining associations concerned with political and public affairs.
- Representing the government at the international level.
Women's family rights:
A set of women's family rights have been defined, including:
- Determining the minimum age for marriage and preventing the completion of any marriage contract before both parties reach that age; to avoid exposing women to bearing family burdens and responsibilities at an early age.
- The woman’s consent to marriage and complete consent to it, without being subjected to coercion and pressure.
- Mandatory documentation of marriage contracts with the official authorities to prove marriage and paternity of children and ensure that the wife enjoys her rights imposed by the marriage contract.
- The right of a woman to terminate the marriage contract if it is impossible to complete marital life and to take measures that guarantee equal rights for both spouses upon the termination of the contract.
Women's educational rights:
States have recognized a set of women's educational rights to ensure equality of their rights with men and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against them, namely:
- Equality of females with males in terms of facilities, curricula, and examinations.
- Equal opportunities to receive aid and scholarships.
- Reducing the phenomenon of females dropping out of school and developing programs aimed at helping females who left school early.
- The right to acquire knowledge and competitive skills that contribute to their entry into the labor market.
Women's rights in the workplace:
Women enjoy a set of rights related to the field of work, including:
- Equality with men in employment, remuneration, and promotion.
- Women's right to participate in social security.
- Women shall not be deprived of work wages due to illness or maternity leave.
- Providing a safe and healthy work environment for women and granting women adequate maternity leave.
- Ensure equality in the mandatory retirement age for men and women.
International Women's Day
International Women's Day has its origins in the protests of women at the start of the 20th century in the United States and Europe, demanding better working conditions and the right to vote.
1975, during International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day on March 8.
Why an International Women's Day?
Marked by numerous events and demonstrations around the world, these gatherings are an opportunity to take stock of women's status, celebrate the victories and achievements in terms of women's rights, and make their demands heard to improve and reduce gender inequalities.
A day of action
March 8 is a day of gatherings around the world and an opportunity to take stock of the situation of women. Traditionally, groups and associations of women activists prepare events all over the world to:
- Celebrate victories and achievements
- Make their demands heard
- Improve the situation of women
It is also an opportunity to mobilize women's rights and their contribution to political and economic life.
The United Nations determines a different theme each year.