Despite significant advancements achieved by the global struggle for women's rights, they are still traded for sex slavery, forced labor, and marriage as youngsters worldwide. In certain parts of the world, women cannot receive an education or participate in politics. Moreover, some face rape in zones where the heinous crime is a weapon of war.
Unnecessarily high pregnancy and childbirth-related fatalities occur worldwide, as women are not allowed to own their bodies and make conscious decisions about sex and pregnancies. Statistics show that each year, more than 500,000 women still die from conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.
Women have fought a long way to bring changes in the legislature and women's rights to curb the disparity between the two genders. The Internet has also played a significant role in catalyzing these movements and turning them into global issues. One such movement is the "Me Too Campaign," in which men and women worldwide participated to address issues pertaining to sexual harassment and gender-based violence. Billion Acts organization pressures those in authority to uphold women's rights.
Overview - What Are Women's Human Rights?
Giving every woman and girl a chance to succeed is only one aspect of achieving equality for women; altering the dynamics of nations and communities is another. Due to their vulnerability, women enjoy unique status and protection within regional and global human rights institutions. International human rights treaties forbid gender discrimination and mandate that states guarantee the security and implementation of women's rights.
Why Are Women's Human Rights Crucial?
Women continue to experience gender inequality on a global scale, including sexist laws, forced and underage marriages, gender-based violence, and obstacles to employment and education. These days, gender equality seems to be an unattainable goal. Although there has been some progress, the groups' statistics paint a depressing picture. Over 2 billion women lack equal employment opportunities as men.
The worldwide pay gap will not be closed at the current pace for over a century. Even though human trafficking affects both men and women, more than 70% of victims worldwide are women and girls. In light of these findings, gender equality must be a top focus.
Women's empowerment is the most effective approach to reducing fertility rates and attaining a sustainable population size. It is crucial to emphasize gender equality worldwide to achieve development objectives, lessen human suffering, and resolve our most pressing environmental issues. Additionally, it will contribute to a happier and healthier society.
What Human Rights Violations do Women Face?
Despite significant progress toward gender equality, there are still many gender inequalities in today's society. Here are some human rights violations women face globally.
The majority of American women still experience workplace discrimination. Even today, women make 77 cents for every dollar men earn in the United States. The situation is significantly worse abroad, despite working equivalently long hours and carrying out the same duties as their male counterparts.
Harvard Business Reviews show that men still devote significantly less time to household duties than their female partners, even though women earn less money and frequently have more demanding responsibilities at home.
Violence and Poverty
One of the biggest obstacles to ending poverty is violence against girls and women. In addition to destroying people's lives and severing communities, violence against girls and women prevents efforts to construct strong democracies, just societies, and sustainable development.
According to the World Health Organization, violence against girls and women is "a worldwide health issue of pandemic proportions."
Poverty is a result of violence against women and girls. It restricts women's options, including their ability to attend education, make a living, and participate in public and political life. They are more vulnerable to violence because of poverty and have few options when it happens.
Worldwide, one in three womenhas been a victim of physical or sexual abuse. Typically, an intimate partner is the one who engages in such acts.
According to specific national research , up to 70% of women have been victims of physical or sexual abuse by an intimate partner. UNICEF states that globally, between 15 and 19-year-old adolescent females have engaged in forced sex in some capacity as many as 15 million times.
There are severe effects on both physical and mental health:
- According to estimates, male intimate partners kill women in 38% of all cases.
- Women who suffer intimate partner abuse have a 5 times higher risk of contracting HIV and several other STIs.
- The risk of depression in women who have experienced violence is double that of males.
Lack of Access to Necessities
Women and girls are more likely to become pregnant unexpectedly, experience maternal mortality and morbidity, suffer severe sexual and reproductive injuries, and develop sexually transmitted infections, primarily due to conflict-related sexual assault. It may also be challenging to access essential services like healthcare, which includes reproductive health services.
The number of female HIV infections is rising quickly. Young women make up the bulk of newly infected individuals aged 15 to 24, partly due to their vulnerability on the economic and social fronts.
Currently, women make up approximately two-thirds of the illiterate adult population worldwide. Women do not have the right to an education, a request rarely denied to their male counterparts, whether because they are kept from school to keep up with home duties or because their father thinks it is time for them to get married.
The gender gap in education in many of these developing nations is only widening, despite countless studies demonstrating that educating women is essential to eradicating poverty and promoting development.
Due to additional caregiving and home duties that girls have to face, specific threats and attacks against them, as well as these obstacles, girls experience. Considering how significantly their role in the family depends on them, women have to hunt for alternative means of support.
While men and boys are also victims of trafficking, women make up the majority. Research shows that over 71% of enslaved humans are women and girls.
Typically, gender-based violence spikes during conflicts and in post-conflict societies. Traffickers will lure, manipulate, and control vulnerable women to transport them within and across national borders for work and services.
Unfortunately, trafficked women and girls experience high physical and sexual violence rates, including extreme working and living conditions, starvation, torture, and psychological abuse. As a result, individuals forced into slavery struggle with mental health issues like anxiety, suicidal ideation, drug addiction, PTSD, self-harming behavior, and dissociative disorders.
Women face severe discrimination and violence in the workplace, which hinders them from reaching their maximum potential and growing success. According to research, approximately 42% of women face gender discrimination in the workplace.
Additionally, Pew research reveals that women earn 84% of what men earn annually. Another study shows that women filed 78.2% of 27,291 sexual harassment cases between 2018 and 2021.
Fortunately, today, governments, non-profit organizations, and social activists are fighting for women's labor rights. People worldwide promote self-reliance by empowering women to learn skills, get an education, and start working. Furthermore, private companies are revamping their policies to ensure inclusivity and protection of women's labor rights.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is an internationally recognized violation of human rights, yet people worldwide still practice this procedure. The process involves partial or total cutting of the external genitalia for non-medical reasons.
FGM roots in inequality and offers no benefits to women. Conversely, it increases the risk of health complications and damages healthy female genital tissue. It can cause severe pain, excessive bleeding, fever, genital tissue swelling, urinary problems, shock, injury to surrounding tissues, or death.
Research by WHO reveals that over 200 million girls and women underwent FGM, and over 3 million more experience the risk of being forced. Today, WHO and similar social groups are working to eliminate female genital mutilation and protect women's health.
Women's Status in Family
It's no surprise that gender prejudice rises within the family. An insightful clinical study by NCBI reveals that women often feel devalued by family members and deprived of privileges. Another research found that the mother's sexism is rooted in need to transfer conservative values, and the father's associated with self-transcendence values.
Furthermore, women face gender-based discrimination and acquire rights based on their relationship with a male figure. Women's rights activists are helping women stand up for their rights, empowering them to speak up and fight for their lives.
Child marriage is a global violation, hurting children's rights and putting them at risk of violence and exploitation—the problem roots in poverty, gender inequality, social norms, and insecurity.
Despite well-known and severe repercussions, 12 million girls are married before 18. It means one girl has her life taken away every three seconds. Today, the UN, alongside non-profit organizations, is working to increase resources for girls at risk for child marriage and implement development policy frameworks to protect their rights.
Although child marriage is still prevalent, research by UNICEF shows that the number is dropping. We can eradicate child marriage through collective efforts and empower individuals to create a happy, healthy life.
Skewed Gender Ratios
Skewed gender ratios occur for multiple reasons, including gender bias, social practices, and prejudice. Unfortunately, skewed gender ratios reinforce harmful stereotypes, sustain patriarchy, and promote violence against women.
Furthermore, it can heighten toxic masculinity among young adults, hurt women's rights, and reduce opportunities for women. Combating skewed gender ratios starts with growing awareness, sensitizing youth, introducing behavioral change, and cultivating a fair society.
What Women's Rights Do We Stand For?
For decades, women worldwide have been fighting for fundamental human rights - the right to vote, education, and free will. Support the women around you by learning more about which rights we stand and struggle for:
Right to Education
Constitutions worldwide agree that every individual, regardless of gender, deserves the right to education. Unfortunately, research shows that women are disproportionately illiterate, making up over half of the illiterate population.
Spreading awareness and restructuring governmental policies are necessary to cultivate a fair and healthy environment where women enjoy equal access to education. Furthermore, it's essential to eradicate the gender gap to ensure women earn the same amount as men.
Right to Freedom
Women's rights are human rights, meaning they are inherent to every individual without discrimination.
Despite this, many women worldwide struggle to speak their minds, stand up for themselves, and live life how they want. Gender equality empowers women by reminding their rights and setting them up for success.
Right to Employment and Equal opportunities
Women have historically struggled to enjoy the same rights as men. Despite making over 40% of the labor force and positively impacting the economy, women still face discrimination in the workplace.
According to research, over 2.4 billion women don't have access to the same economic rights as men. As a result, they face multiple obstacles when seeking jobs, including discrimination and sexual harassment.
Sexual and Reproductive Rights
Women worldwide don't have access to sexual and reproductive health rights. In fact, research shows that one in four women cannot make their own decisions about health care.
Sparking conversation around sexual and reproductive rights are crucial to help women access equal health services like contraception, safe abortions, who and when they marry, and when they want to have children.
OHCHR, alongside other non-profit organizations, is working to empower women and help them live without fear of gender-based violence, including rape and FGM.
Women's Role in Peacebuilding
People often overlook women's role in security and peace, and they face risks in conflict situations. Typically, human rights defenders face ostracization by communities and are viewed as a threat to religion, honor, and culture.
In addition, women struggle with discrimination due to their age, ethnicity, disability, and socio-economic status. It's essential to dismantle harmful gender stereotypes to set them up for success.
Women and Youth as Leaders
Women stay underrepresented in leadership and face discriminatory laws, institutions, and attitudes that restrict participation in public activities.
Empowering women and investing in women's leadership starts with supporting girls' leadership and creating equal opportunities. Furthermore, developing strategies and experiences to inspire young women's leadership is crucial.
5 Impactful Ways to Empower Women
Here are several powerful ways to support your female colleagues, friends, and family members by challenging stereotypes and confronting biases:
The easiest yet most effective way of helping women advance is by managing your biases. Learn to listen to your inner dialogue and challenge yourself when you hear prejudice.
Besides this, use inclusive language and expression to reinforce equity and fairness towards women.
Show Up for Women
There's no better way to support the women in your life than by being there physically and emotionally.
You can advocate for women in your life countless ways, from sending a daily text to check in to calling your mother to remind them you care.
Give Women Due Credit
Men attribute success to innate qualities, skills, and hard work. However, women attribute it to external factors like "getting lucky" or "receiving favor." Additionally, women explain their failures differently, too.
Improve women's confidence and help them unlock their potential by giving them credit and equal opportunities.
Women are particularly prone to imposter syndrome and struggle with feelings of inadequacy because they try to juggle multiple priorities simultaneously. Try to remind women of their achievements and be open about their project contributions.
Recognizing and advocating for women is a fantastic way of cultivating a positive environment and dismantling gender bias.
The Future of Women's Rights: What to Expect?
The data discussed shows that women's rights are at stake. Recently, the U.S. proposed cuts to foreign aid and policies, thus posing threats to women's health, dignity, and well-being.
Therefore, now is the perfect time to speak up and strengthen women's movements worldwide. It's crucial to join hands to spark social change and empower women to turn challenges into opportunities.
Research shows that 75% of people in 34 countries believe women will eventually have the same rights as men. Now's the time to turn that into 100% by making your voice heard and supporting your female friends, colleagues, and family members!
Billion Acts – Our Role in Protecting Women's Rights
Play your role in combating gender biases and prejudice deep-rooted in societies and defending women's rights by connecting with Billion Acts. Become an advocate and speak up for things that really matter by joining campaigns fighting for equality and justice.
At Billion Acts, we focus on improving the world and making it a better place for everyone, one step at a time. Make a change by visiting our website and creating a campaign that promotes a happier, healthier living environment for all!
The Bottom Line
Women worldwide face gender-based biases, inequalities, violence, and sexual harassment that hurt their physical and mental well-being and decrease opportunities to live the life they want.
Dismantling stereotypical gender roles and taking strides in fighting human trafficking, workplace discrimination, child marriages, and sexual violence is critical to cultivating a healthy environment for people worldwide. Get started to make an impact by visiting Billion Acts and joining a campaign that aligns with your ideals.