Women's Rights


Rights and Humanity’s international experience has consistently indicated that women are disproportionately affected by poverty and discrimination. Although our aims are to improve the lives of all people, men and women alike, we have always worked with a gender perspective and had a particular focus on realising women’s rights.

Realising women’s rights and empowerment brings huge development benefits, not only for women, but for their families and communities, indeed society as a whole. The empowerment of women unlocks a vast reserve of potential for human development. History has shown incontrovertibly that the empowerment of women is the single most effective tool for economic and social development at the national and global levels.

A main thrust of our work has focused on strengthening women’s rights as a tool for HIV/AIDS prevention, promoting women’s right to health and access to health information and protecting women’s right to be free from violence.

Our advocacy is also aimed at strengthening women’s participation in the political process and reaffirming the rights of women within cultural contexts. We have stressed the importance of reform at all levels of governance and society in order that women’s rights can be fully realised.

Women’s Health
Rights and Humanity’s experience with HIV/AIDS has indicated the urgent need to provide information to women and girls on HIV prevention, and has highlighted the susceptibility of women to the adverse consequences of the pandemic. One of Rights and Humanity’s major achievements was forging consensus at the Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing, China, in September 1995, on the right of adolescent girls to access to sexual and reproductive information and services.

Rights and Humanity has played a particular role in advocating that protecting the human rights of women is a critical strategy for preventing avoidable mortality and morbidity.
We served on the WHO Global Commission on Women’s Health between 1993- 1997. As consultants to WHO, we prepared two important initiatives: a guide for WHO staff on how the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) can be used to improve women’s health; and a companion document prepared for members of the UN Committee monitoring state compliance with CEDAW. This second document explains the impact that discrimination has on the health of women and girls throughout their life cycle. Rights and Humanity has articulated and advocated a joint health and rights approach to overcoming violence against women in general, and Female Genital Cutting (often referred to as Female Genital Mutilation) in particular.

Women in Peacemaking
Rights and Humanity has advocated the important role that women play in peacekeeping and conflict resolution in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 adopted in October 2000. This calls for increased representation of women at all levels of decision-making and their participation in the prevention, management and resolution of conflict.
In September 2005, we taught on a training course at the Swedish National Defence College entitled “Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR)” The course was for Senior and Middle Managers involved in defence work from around the world. Our role was to emphasise the benefits of involving women in all aspects of DDR.

In 2005, Rights and Humanity established WHEN! our Women’s Human Rights and Empowerment Network, under the Patronage of Mrs. Cherie Blair. This is a network of women and men committed to acting within their own spheres of influence to bring about women’s empowerment. See also:

Resolving UN Deadlocks: Beijing Women’s Conference
AIDS and Human Rights: Women’s Vulnerability

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