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  1. 1
    288719
    Peer Reviewed

    Women's rights in the Universal Declaration.

    Morsink J

    Human Rights Quarterly. 1991 May; 13(2):229-256.

    The Charter of the United Nations forbids discrimination on the basis of "race, sex, language or religion." Some of the delegations involved in drafting the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights felt that this short list of four nondiscrimination items was enough and should be repeated in the Declaration. Others wanted to be more exhaustive. The matter was referred to the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities. This commission recommended that the article in the Declaration state that "[e]veryone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind such as race, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, property status, or national or social origin." Everything after "religion" was added to the Charter list. A few objections were raised, but nothing was deleted from the list. Instead, the two items of "color" and "birth" were added to the Sub-Commission's recommendation. Article 2 of the Declaration is thus an expansion of the Charter's mandate that the new world organization promote human rights for all without discrimination. This theme of nondiscrimination runs through all the deliberations about the Declaration, and whatever disagreements there were about the various items on the list were minor. There was complete agreement that the article on nondiscrimination was a keystone of the Declaration and a gateway to its universality. If we take away someone's race, sex, and opinions on various subjects, all information about his or her background, about birth and present economic status, what we have left is just a human being, one without frills. And the Declaration says that the human rights it proclaims belong to these kinds of stripped-down people, that is, to everyone, without exception. As Mr. Heywood, the Australian representative, said, "logically, discrimination was prohibited by the use in each article of the phrase 'every person' or 'everyone.'" That is why the prohibition against discrimination is not repeated- -as it well might have been--with each article, but is stated at the beginning and made applicable to "all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration." Given this opening prohibition against discrimination, there is, strictly speaking, no need for repetition. But that does not mean that the temptation was not there, especially in the case of sex-based discrimination. Nor does it mean that the final product--a litany of the words "everyone" and "no one"--was arrived at without struggle. For there was a struggle, especially in the case of women's rights. (excerpt)
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  2. 2
    075888

    The world's women 1970-1990: trends and statistics.

    United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Statistical Office; United Nations. Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs; UNICEF; United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA]; United Nations Development Fund for Women [UNIFEM]

    New York, New York, United Nations, 1991. xiv, 120 p. (Social Statistics and Indicators Series K No. 8; ST/ESA/STAT/SER.K/8)

    5 UN agencies worked together to develop this statistical source book to generate awareness of women's status, to guide policy, to stimulate action, and to monitor progress toward improvements. The data clearly show that obvious differences between the worlds of men and women are women's role as childbearer and their almost complete responsibility for family care and household management. Overall, women have gained more control over their reproduction, but their responsibility to their family's survival and their own increased. Women tend to be the providers of last resort for families and themselves, often in hostile conditions. Women have more access to economic opportunities and accept greater economic roles, yet their economic employment often consists of subsistence agriculture and services with low productivity, is separate from men's work, and unequal to men's work. Economists do not consider much of the work women do as having any economic value so they do not even measure it. The beginning of each chapter states the core messages in 4-5 sentences. Each chapter consists of text accompanied by charts, tables, and/or regional stories. The 1st chapter covers women, families, and households. The 2nd chapter addresses the public life and leadership of women. Education and training dominate chapter 3. Health and childbearing are the topics of chapter 4 while housing, settlements, and the environment comprise chapter 5. The book concludes with a chapter on women's employment and the economy. The annexes include strategies for the advancement of women decided upon in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985, the text of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and geographical groupings of countries and areas. During the 1990s, we must invest in women to realize equitable and sustainable development.
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