Women's rights are the rights and entitlements claimed for women and girls of many societies worldwide. In some places, these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed. They differ from broader notions of human rights through claims of an inherent historical and traditional bias against the exercise of rights by women and girls in favour of men and boys.
Issues commonly associated with notions of women's rights include, though are not limited to, the right: to bodily integrity and autonomy; to vote ; to hold public office; to work; to fair wages or equal pay; to own property; to education; to serve in the military or be conscripted; to enter into legal contracts; and to have marital or parental rights.
Although males seem to have dominated in many ancient cultures, there are some exceptions. For instance in the Nigerian Aka culture women may hunt, even on their own, and often control distribution of resources. Ancient Egypt had female rulers, such as Cleopatra.
The status of women in China was low, largely due to the custom of foot binding. About 45% of Chinese women had bound feet in the 19th century. For the upper classes, it was almost 100%. In 1912, the Chinese government ordered the cessation of foot binding. Foot binding involved alteration of the bone structure so that the feet were only about 4 inches long. The bound feet caused difficulty of movement, thus greatly limiting the activities of women. Due to the social custom that men and women should not be near to one another, the women of China were reluctant to be treated by male doctors of Western Medicine. This resulted in a tremendous need for female doctors of Western Medicine in China. Thus, female medical missionary Dr. Mary H. Fulton was sent by the Foreign Missions Board of the Presbyterian Church to found the first medical college for women in China. Known as the Hackett Medical College for Women, this College was located in Guangzhou, China, and was enabled by a large donation from Mr. Edward A.K. Hackett of Indiana, USA. The College was aimed at the spreading of Christianity and modern medicine and the elevation of Chinese women's social status. Greece
The status of women in ancient Greece varied form city state to city state. Records exist of women in ancient Delphi, Gortyn, Thessaly, Megara and Sparta owning land, the most prestigious form of private property at the time. In ancient Athens, women had no legal personhood and were assumed to be part of the oikos headed by the male kyrios. Until marriage, women were under the guardianship of their father or other male relative. Once married, the husband became a woman's kyrios. As women were barred from conducting legal proceedings, the kyrios would do so on their behalf. Athenian women had limited right to property and therefore were not considered full citizens, as citizenship and the entitlement to civil and political rights was defined in relation to property and the means to life. However, women could acquire rights over property through gifts, dowry and inheritance, though her kyrios had the right to dispose of a woman's property. Athenian women could enter into a contract worth less than the value of a “medimnos of barley”, allowing women to engage in petty trading. By contrast, Spartan women enjoyed a status, power, and respect that was unknown in the rest of the classical world. Although Spartan women were formally excluded from military and political life they enjoyed considerable status as mothers of Spartan warriors. As men engaged in military activity, women took responsibility for running estates. Following protracted warfare in the 4th century BC Spartan women owned approximately between 35% and 40% of all Spartan land and property. By the Hellenistic Period, some of the wealthiest Spartans were women. They controlled their own properties, as well as the properties...
...area as a whole that historically is not peaceful. This paper will overview family law in Afghanistan and Iran, show the womenʼs struggle in todays society, and illustrate the significance that this has not only for women in these two countries but for the Middle East and South Asia as a whole.
Family law regarding divorce, custody and rights of wives in both Iran and Afghanistan is governed mainly by Shari'a, known as "Islamic Law". Many of the laws set in place regarding the women of these countries are not only binding and unfair but some are even harmful to the women themselves. Back in the early 80s family matters became the central focus of laws on women and they were are highly praised for their roles as mothers and the government justified the Islamic family laws such as polygamy and lack of rights with regard to custody of children by referring to the status of women as mothers in Iran. Still today though they don’t carry rights as mothers along with this praise and role. In both countries women are easily and lawfully controlled by their husbands and in areas of marriage, divorce, and child custody women have little or no rights protecting them making it very difficult for women to obtain freedom from harmful and dangerous marriages. Divorce is easily obtained by men for basically any reason while women seeking divorce have so many stipulations that make it extremely difficult to obtain. Women often in...
...USING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION TO PROMOTE WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT IN GHANA
Social Development, by definition, aims at promoting the welfare or well-being content and outcomes of development policy and practice, in ways that at the same time, advance the instrumentality or empowerment of individuals and groups. Social development does not only advocate for an improvement in well-being, but also that policies and programmes should advance a greater ability to effect change. Social Development must therefore be nested in social justice and equity at both individual and institutional levels.
The empowerment of persons who are vulnerable and excluded, promotion of social justice and equity are the main concerns of social policies, and this should transcend all aspects of society, including participation in governance and decision making. Inspite of the pivotal role women in Ghana play within the family, they are invisibly represented in governance and decision making sector of the economy. This is because there is no concrete policy measures in place to ensure that the structural inequality between men and women are taken into account in promoting participation in policy decision. Efforts are being made at various levels to address the marginalization of women in Ghana’s politics and other spheres of life, but this still remains an area of concern. In a country where women constitute about 51 percent, their involvement in development issues...
...Violence Against Women in Muslim Families: an Agenda for Muslim Women’s Empowerment
Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, declared in a 2006 report posted on the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) website that:
Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her, (Kofi Annan 2006)
One of the key issues addressed at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing was the elimination of violence against women.' Violence affects the lives of millions of women worldwide, irrespective of their socio-economic status. It cuts across ethnic, cultural and religious barriers, impeding the rights of women to participate fully in the society. The urgency of addressing this global problem is tragically illustrated by the treatment of women in conflict or crisis situations, where various forms of harassment, intimidation, rape and forced pregnancies are being used as instruments of war, especially by the opposing forces or the supposed peacekeepers. The recent incident in the Darfur region of Sudan, where women were violently abused both physically and sexually and some killed, is typical. However, it is not only in times of war that...
...The Rights of Women in Islamic Countries
For many years women have been mistreated in society. While many nations now see men and women as equals, the Islamic community has yet to do such. Many Islamic counties, such as Iran, still abide by these unjust actions that take place against a person because of their gender. Women in Islamic countries are being controlled with what they are allowed to say, how they are allowed to dress, their political opinions, the types of employment they may hold, forms of punishment, and their political opinions. While most of the world has come to a consensus realizing men and women are equal, Islamic Law has yet to change.
Women is Islamic countries do have rights. Their rights aren’t nearly as reasonable as the rights that men have. Women in Islamic nations have the right to obtain an education, but only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iranian women have the opportunity to get an education, but it is not strongly enforced. Though they must usually gain their education through an all girls’ school, this is an advantage that the women are given. In the past many women were not allowed to attain an education. Next, under the Iranian Constitution it is the duty of the clergymen to construe laws dealing with women. Only religious males figures are permitted to discuss women’srights. Unfortunately under these laws a woman’s life is only half as...
...Breastfeeding is a healthy, natural ability of every woman, and should therefore be socially acceptable and supported by everyone. For some reason this is not the case in our society, in fact breastfeeding continues to be a controversial issue that must be addressed by women’srights activist groups. Breastfeeding is a feminist issue because the natural act has been medicalized and devalued by major companies because of their interests in profits in bottle feeding. According to Penny Van Esterik a coordinator in the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), women should never have to choose between their duties as a mother and their duties as a responsible, hard working employee. Our society pressures, exploits and oppresses women and the condition of their lives in every instance in which breastfeeding, especially in a public environment, is not adequately supported and accepted as a beautiful thing. There are many organizations worldwide that are dedicated to give women the support they need in order for them to not be discouraged from breastfeeding because of outside, socially constructed forces. La Leche League International and Pro Mom are just a couple to name. These organizations are very similar in the sense that they wish to create informative, happy and supportive environments for all women breastfeeding (or not) and anyone who wishes to be an activist for this issue.
LLLI refers to La Leche League International, an organization...
Since the middle of this century, women around the world have been seeking greater independence and recognition. No longer content with their traditional roles as housewives and mothers, women have joined together to create the so-called “women’s liberation movement”. While the forces behind this international movement vary from culture to culture and from individual to individual, the basic causes in the United States can be traced to three events: the development of effective birth-control methods, the invention of labor-saving devices for the home, and the advent of World War II.
The first cause of the liberation of women was the development of effective birth-control methods, freeing women from the endless cycle of childbearing and rearing. As a result of having a choice as to when and whether to bear children, women acquired the freedom and the time to pursue interests outside of the home. Because of the development of birth control, women could delay having children or avoid having them altogether; consequently, women had the opportunity to acquire an education and/or pursue a career.
Another event was the development of mechanized labor-saving devices for the home, resulting in more leisure time and freedom for women. For example, fifty years ago, a housewife spent an average of twelve to fourteen hours per day doing housework. Due to the invention of machines such as vacuum cleaners, washing...
...liberated in the West and that the women's liberation movement began in the 20th century although in actuality, the women's liberation movement was not begun by women but was revealed by God to a man in the seventh century by the name of Muhammad (peace be upon him), who is known as the last Prophet of Islam. The Qur'an and the Traditions of the Prophet (Hadith or Sunnah) are the sources from which every Muslim woman derives her rights and duties.
A woman in Islam occupies a unique position, where she is ranked in a manner, which enables her to be respected in the fashion that she desires.
In our contemporary society Islam is considered an oppressive religion. In this society, women are viewed as objects: they are used, abused and victims of terrible crimes. In Islam, women are held high in esteem. Islam has liberated women from many things and has given them back their self-respect.
Through reading this booklet you can learn of the many benefits that a Muslim woman gains. You can also learn of the Shar’i view regarding women in certain situations, which gives you an insight of how to behave and practice in correct accordance to the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Allah Ta’aalaa states in the Qur’an:
"And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness. " (2: 228)
This aayah of the Holy Qur’an shows that the status of men and women are equal in that their rights are...
...Woman’s Rights and Gender Equality in India and Pakistan.
Woman in India have many rights granted to them in their constitution, rights woman in the western society spent many years fighting for. Woman under the constitution in India have rights granted to them the ensure equality from men and actually gives them some rights over men. Having these rights and knowing about these rights and how to use them is certainly two different things. While Pakistan has improved a lot they are lacking in woman’s rights compared to India.
While India’s constitution protects the rights of woman, many women don’t know of these rights or how to go about obtaining these rights. With the literacy rate for woman India being about 65% this leaves a fairly large significant group of woman unable to protect themselves. However the literacy rate in India has improved a lot since the British Empire where only 11% of all Indians were literate. As the literacy rate becomes more equal over genders, gender equality will also become less of an issue. Women must know their rights and how to protect themselves using the rights that have been given.
Many woman now hold high places in the government of India, with support from the government and its high ranking officials. However traditional Indian culture makes...