The Realization of Women’s Rights

A large number of women throughout the world live in abject deprivation conditions and attack against their basic rights for no reason, only because they are women.  Women’s rights have traditionally been looked at as distinct from human rights. In their lifetime, women often experience violations of their human rights with such infringements that often take the form of gender-based violence and discrimination, denial of access to property, education and employment among others.

In various regions, women`s rights are highly institutionalized by local custom, law, and behavior, while in others they may be suppressed or even ignored. Women have not been able to participate effectively in political choices that govern their life that is the reason they do not have freedom of speech, and, therefore, cannot participate in political events. They have not also been able to hold property-both land and movable goods, having the right to look for job opportunities without discrimination, having the freedom from unwarranted search and seizure. They have not the freedom of movement and the, security against violent acts, including sexual molestation and domestic violence, as stated by CEDAW, (1998).

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''Thirty years since the embracing of the Convention on the Abolition of All Types of Prejudices against Women (CEDAW),  a great number of women and girls still have not accorded equal opportunities to experience rights as stated by law. In various countries, women have no right to own property or resources or inherit land. “Honor” killings, social exclusion, female genital mutilation, restricted mobility, trafficking, as well as early marriage among others,  forbid women and girls  their right to health  and increase death throughout their life-course.''

We will not realize sustainable development unless we fix challenges facing women and young girls in health systems. This is such as enjoying equal access to health information and services, employment, education, and in political spheres. The realization of the women’s rights has been a problem because of several reasons. Several factors have affected the implementation of the even laid down regulations that are supposed to enable women to access their rights.

In a majority of patriarchal communities, religion or tradition has used as an obstruction for equal rights. For instance, biblical doctrines express the subordination of women - it is a creature, which is created after man. It is also the woman who is portrayed as the source of sin, when she lures the man into eating the forbidden fruit. Leadership has been specifically assigned to the male species. This has played a significant role in making women not access equal rights as their male counterpart. The same is the even in the Islam doctrines. For example, Islam religion allows men to practice polyandry and not the women. This has made the women have no voice in the marriage institution. Furthermore, women are at a higher risk in terms of inheritance, property ownership, and acquiring assets. This facilitates poverty, because women are denied the right to exercise their potentials. The other reason for the poor realization of their rights is because women work more, but are paid less.

''The informal slogan of the decade of Women became “Women perform two-thirds of the world's work, but receive 10 percent of the world’s income and possess one percent of the means of production '' Richard H. Robbins (DeLuzio 354).

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For many women, house chores which are unpaid usually take their time, and; therefore, they have less time for employment. Even when they engage in the labor market for paid employment, women still perform the majority of the domestic chores.  They are more likely to be employed in low earnings forms of employment such as secretaries, cleaners, jobs with little wages and little or no social benefits.  Furthermore, women do not only get lower wages than men, they also have fewer material goods. Smaller wages and less domination over family income inhibit their ability to accumulate capital. This translates to the lower economic positions that women occupy, thus even the realization of their rights become a challenge.

The other reason why it has been slow for women to realize their right is the negative role played by the media in positioning women in the society.  The duties of women presented in the media, in talk shows, entertainment shows as well as news casting end up strengthening the status quo and the cultural stereotypes, of the coming generations. This occurs across nations, from the richest to the poorest. This, therefore, perpetuates the negative prejudices that make it almost impossible for women to air their views on critical issues that affect them.

Access to courts is needed to implement rights hallowed in the constitution, so as to provide a larger platform for women to empower society. However, access to courts for women in most rural areas, in many countries is adversely limited. Women’s access to courts may be bogged down by family law norms, social and cultural norms among others. In a majority of the countries, women are underrepresented in the judiciary. For example, in the year 1997, India had never had a women judge; however, in 1992, 3.7% of the judges became women.

Customary dispute resolution systems have also been the other cause of slow realization of women's rights. For women, customary establishments have merits and demerits. Compared to courts customary institutions may give more accessible and faster forums for rural women, and may get greater social authenticity in local communities. On the other hand, customary establishments are gender biased in their makeup and orientation. In most places, they are made up of male elders, who apply a male-biased elucidation of customary law. Women are striped from authority positions in the courts. When they act as councilors, they face challenges in being acknowledged by community members. This has made the women shun such institutions for rejection thereafter, thus limited realization of their rights.

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Another major impediment to the implementation of women’s statutory rights is the women’s lack of legal awareness and resources. Indeed, most women are often unaware of their legal rights. Even when they are aware of their rights, they often lack the resources required to bring claims. The subject of information is connected to illiteracy. In most rural areas, female illiteracy rates are exceedingly high, although with a variation from one country to the other. This raises the alarm about the ways of the propagation of legal information. Publication of laws alone cannot reach the rural women who may not even be able to read, and additional methods of information accessible should be considered such as radios.

To address these factors impeding the realization of the rights of women, there is a lot to be done. This could include the following: Equality within the males and females is not yet instilled in society. Education and civilization should bring changes in such attitudes, which should be encouraged, and to instate equality and respect for women’s rights.  The skills for proper and gender sensitive inquiry and prosecution are not sufficient. Gender sensitization is crucial for the judiciary, police and prosecutors. Mobilization and rights awareness education for women are critical. The problem also requires addressing inter-agency partnerships, such as through hospitals, the police, legal agencies and welfare. It also requires governmental and non-governmental collaboration. Other services such as temporary shelters, legal support, medical assistance, counseling, and information enable women break out of abusive unions. 

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