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Human Rights and Gender Equality

Make Poverty History - Rally in Edinburgh, Scotland, 2005
Positive trend

Getting involved in order to improve conditions of life is made easier by rules and guarantees that are stipulated in universal, civic, political, economic, social, and cultural human rights. This kind of empowerment can strengthen activities, too. Gender equality, rooted in human rights, has a special role. On the one hand there is an existential discrimination of women regarding many global challenges. On the other hand women's daily activities contribute to relieve many global problems. Gender is a key to many of these challenges.

Targets/goals: On international level human rights are stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, etc. (and so on) The Millennium Declaration includes the goal to end discrimination against women and the target to end, by 2015, disparities between boys and girls in all levels of education (UN [United Nations] 2000, §§ 20.1, 25.4, 19.2).

Trend: + As a rough indicator, the share of world population assessed to be enjoying a high level of political rights and civil liberties has increased from 36% in 1980 to 46% in 2007 (Freedom House 2008). According to amnesty international people are tortured or ill-treated in at least 81 countries (ai 2008). Human Rights Watch reports human rights abuses in 75 countries (HRW 2008).
Regarding the Millennium Targets on gender equality there is some progress. In 2006 11% of the boys and 14% of the girls in less developed countries were not enrolled in primary school (UN 2008a, Indicator 2.1b). Additionally, the share of women in labour markets is monitored, as well as their share in parliaments – which has increased from 13% in 1990 to 18% in 2008 globally (UN 2000, §§ 19.2, 20.1, 24, 25, 2007, 13, and 2008, 19).


Draft (2008)

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Photo credit: © Make Poverty History Assembly/Comic Relief