Ei-iE

Women’s Rights are Human Rights

published 9 December 2010 updated 9 December 2010

On 10 December, International Human Rights Day, EI commemorates the struggle for women’s rights, and looks forward to inspiring discussions at its first World Women’s Conference in Bangkok from 20-23 January, 2011.

Equality is essential to achieving human rights for all. Yet women still face a wide range of inequalities all around the world. In too many countries, even if national constitutions or laws prohibit it, women are denied equal pay and employment opportunities, are sexually harassed, or dismissed from work if they become pregnant.

Elsewhere, women claiming land property may find those claims are disputed by males. Women who are victims of sexual violence may have to seek help from judges who may be more sympathetic to the perpetrators.

Globally, women perform 66 per cent of the world’s work, produce 50 per cent of food, but earn only 10 per cent of income and own one per cent of property.

EI Deputy General Secretary, Jan Eastman, said: “Women’s social, economic and political empowerment is not a stand-alone goal. It is the driver of efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve quality education for all, reduce child and maternal mortality, and fight epidemics such as HIV, AIDS and malaria. A peaceful and fair society is only possible when all women can lead self-determined lives, free of violence and abuse, as active citizens. As long as women are denied basic rights to education and employment, health and ownership of property, the best efforts to promote social justice and equality will fail.”

EI strongly believes that when women and men break out of traditional gender roles and free themselves from discrimination and oppression, they pave the way not only for self-fulfilled lives, but for sustainable development of strong and democratic societies. It is time this vision was realised for women and men, young and old, in all corners of the world.

Developing strategies for securing women’s human rights will be one of the main aims of the World Women’s Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, from 20-23 January, 2011. All genders of education union representatives from around the world will gather to deepen understanding and build action plans to achieve gender equality through the union, in education and society.

Pre-Conference activities will build a global network to enhance women’s rights and empowerment. To find out more about the programme, visit the Conference web page at: www.ei-ie.org/women2011