Week 10 Class 1: Human Rights – Men’s or Women’s?
• What are they?
• Are they justifiable?
• Can they do any good?
• Difference between women’s rights and women’s human rights
o How can rights for one social group be valid?
From the UDHR
• 2: right to not suffer from discrimination, gender is highlighted
• 16 (1) : marry and found a family, rights during and the end of marriage
• 16 (2) : marriage entered into only through free and full consent
• 25: Mothers and children are entitled to special care and assistance
• Should women have rights that me do not have?
• Must human rights he rights of all people just because we are all human?
• If HR give special protections to women, then they are not universal.
• If HR do not give special protections to women, then women will not enjoy all human
• Either way, human rights will not be universal.
The Underlying Problem:
• Providing women with equal enjoyment and protection of HR
• Without violating universality or making rights into privileges
o Entitlement Wrong to deprive anyone of X
Same for all – e.g. security
o What it calls for
Women have special risks (violence against women
Special protections warrented
Special Risks: India
• Security: women face threats to their security because they are women; men do not
• Four men were sentenced to death in September 2013 for the rape and murder of a 23-
year-old New Delhi student. The gruesome attack made headlines around the world, and
the case shed light on the pervasive sexual assault problem in the country.
• Last week, a 22-year-old technology professional working in the southern city of
Hyderabad was kidnapped and raped by two cabbies, according to the Deccan Herald.
• A grade-eight girl died in India on Wednesday after reportedly being gang raped and set
• The Press Trust of India reported Wednesday that a grade-seven girl was abducted and
raped at gunpoint in a sugarcane field.
• At this moment in Canada, there are 1,559 missing women on file with the Canadian
Police Information Centre, a national case-tracking database maintained at the RCMP's
• The stories include some particularly shocking narratives in which a multitude of the
missing disappear from a single area — such as B.C.'s "Highway of Tears," a lonely
stretch of road between Prince Rupert and Prince George where five of those women
were last seen and 13 others are known to have been murdered.
Other Special Risks • Education: in some places, girls are held back from school while boys are not.
• Nutrition: in some places, men and boys are fed first, while women and girls take less.
• Health: in some places/times, men report illness and get treatment when women do not.
• Domestic violence: rarely are men the victims.
• Conventions are created for the process that occurs after it is created
• A monitoring system is put in place
• Nations are evaluated regularly on how well they fulfill their obligations
Solving the Dilemma
o Everyone has a right not to be discriminated against
• What it calls for
o To implement this, some things need to be respected, protected, ensured and
promoted specifically for women.
o e.g., Article 25 (1)
The Convention on Elimination of All Discrimination of Women
• Drafting was led by the UN Commission on Status of Women
o formed 1946
o led work towards convention on the political rights of women, convention on
nationality of married women, convention on consent to marriage
o general assembly called of single convention
o signed in 1980, into force in 1981
• CEDAW Holdouts
o Somalia o South Sudan
In arguments against CEDAW, the conservative organization Concerned
Women for America cite that ratification of the treaty will:
negate family law and undermine traditional family values by redefining
force the U.S. to pay men and women the same for "work of equal value"
thus going against our free-market system
ensure access to abortion services and contraception
create a possible 'back door' ERA for feminists
allow same-sex marriage