Loud and Clear: Women’s Rights, In Action!

Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda  (right) attends the 2008 Benefactrix Ball presented by YMCA at the Beverly Hills Hotel (Photo Credit: Leon Bennett/WireImage).

Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda (right) attends the 2008 Benefactrix Ball presented by YMCA at the Beverly Hills Hotel (Photo Credit: Leon Bennett/WireImage).

As we reflected on 50 Days of Action for Women and Girls and its themes, including early marriage, violence against women, and sexual and reproductive health, we got to wondering: What does all this integrated human rights talk look like in practice?

So we turned to a woman who walks the talk and leads change herself, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda. Take a look at her examples of women’s participation in claiming their own rights. Then take action on an issue important to you, and join us on Facebook and Twitter to stay connected. (Don’t forget to join the World YWCA’s efforts, too!)

In your experience, what does participation mean in the context of women’s rights in your country?

For women to participate, it [is] important that they know and are aware of their rights, have the social empowerment to engage and the space to exercise their voice. Women’s community groups, organizations and networks…have provided the platforms for such participation.

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Less than human rights is not an option for people with disabilities

What comes to mind when you hear the word “disability?”  Wheelchairs, canes, Seeing Eye Dogs, handicapped signs, mental illness, deafness… Images and thoughts, more often than not, that imply the person lacks something – is less than a person, even less than human.

Disabilities and human rights

The CRPD helps to ensure that people with disabilities won't be left on the sidelines and forgotten. © Getty

The disabled—correction—persons with disabilities—struggle with stigma and a long history as being objects of pity, ostracized by mainstream society, and seen as needing to be fixed.  And as shocking as it may seem, even in the human rights arena, people with disabilities are often left on the sidelines and forgotten.

Now is the time for a paradigm shift – we need to actively challenge our perceptions of disabilities.  Research tells us that 10% of the world’s population lives with a disability – that’s 650 million people on this planet with a disability!   Yet in many societies, cultural barriers and myths about disabilities don’t allow for basic human rights to be extended to people who are seen as less than human.

A clearer picture emerges when looking at human rights violations through a “disability lens”:

But in December 2006, the balances began to shift in favor of people with disabilities.  The United Nations adopted the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and optional protocols. The CRPD essentially closes the gaps between human rights issues and people with disabilities. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST