Women to Lead the Human Rights Revolution

Essay by m_iria_m June 2004

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Looking at the history of social movements in the 20th Century, one realizes that increasingly women service the various social and economic movements mostly as workers and volunteers but not as its leaders. In the next phase, which, I believe, is the human rights revolution, women must lead and set the agenda of this movement. Women must lead the revolution with a new holistic vision of the universality and indivisibility of human rights for all. Men must realize that they are narrowing the agenda and inhibiting true social change toward peace and democratization when they keep women out of leadership positions. On the way to assuming leadership, human rights education is one of the imperatives that women must adopt. To learning about human rights, men must join women in promoting and protecting women's human rights as part of the larger agenda of social change. As leaders, women need to adopt the notion of human rights as fully comprehensive.

The understanding that social, economic, environmental, medical, and cultural injustices are human rights violations and that the promotion of human rights is at the heart of what human rights education can offer to these new leaders, by which they can be setting the political agenda of human rights, and thus the future of humanity.

The two years of preparation for the 4WCW evoked a difficult, yet revolutionary dialogue worldwide. Even though not fully acknowledged as such, the hard questions and the many debates that lead to closing and opening brackets, to rejecting and accepting ideas, issues and concerns, the agreements, contradictions and even the co-optation were all about human rights of women and thus about human rights of humanity. Beijing and the vibrant discussions at the NGO Forum and between governments made it very clear that women must understand that all injustices...