Women's Rights Are Human Rights

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Attaining equality between women and men and eliminating all forms of discrimination against women are fundamental human rights and United Nations values. Women around the world nevertheless regularly suffer violations of their human rights throughout their life, and realizing women’s human rights has not always been prioritized. Achieving equality between women and men requires a comprehensive understanding of the ways in which women experience discrimination and are denied equality so as to develop appropriate strategies to eliminate such discrimination. This publication provides an introduction to women’s human rights, beginning with the main provisions in international human rights law and going on to explain particularly relevant concepts for fully understanding women’s human rights.

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Key concepts

In the past, human rights had been conceptualized in a way that did not take account of women’s lives and the fact that women routinely faced violence, discrimination and oppression. Consequently, women’s experiences were until relatively recently not adequately addressed by the human rights framework. The work of activists, human rights mechanisms and States has been critical in ensuring that the human rights framework has grown and adjusted to encapsulate the gender-specific dimensions of human rights violations in order to better protect women. Effectively ensuring women’s human rights requires a comprehensive understanding of the underlying societal structures and power relations that define and influence women’s ability to enjoy their human rights. These power structures have an impact on all aspects of life, from law and politics, to economic and social policy, family and community life.

English Spanish, Chinese

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