Alis Headlam: The world has it wrong; women’s rights are human rights

This commentary is from Alis Headlam of Rutland, who holds a doctorate in education.

Now that the election is over, this discussion is not meant to be a commentary on the political process because it is not something that should be on the political agenda. Readers should put on another pair of glasses through which they can see the importance of viewing this as part of a human agenda.

The world is wrong. Women’s rights should not be determined by politics, religious doctrine or even social laws. These rights must be guaranteed as human rights.

The real concern is that the world must recognize the right of all women to be accepted as essential citizens in a global society. It is the right to contribute to the betterment of the world. In a world that recognizes that everyone has a contribution to make to foster the well-being and survival of all human beings, this cannot be denied.

And yet, in the name of politics, religion, and social norms, it’s a battle that’s still on the surface of every woman’s existence on earth.

When women are denied the ability to represent themselves as individuals worthy of recognition because they are forced to remain hidden, their potentials are all too often nullified. When they are locked in kitchens and assigned purely domestic roles, they often have no opportunity to develop otherwise.

This is not intended to confuse the issue by degrading women who have chosen to shine in their domestic lives or who find individual needs met by wearing traditional clothing that protects their physical needs or enhances their religious beliefs. They are also rights. But these can be barriers to participation and should not be imposed on gender as a whole.

Still, women are truly amazing. Many of them are able to shine despite what others find limiting. For them, it is part of life. They were born to excel, so they succeed.

When reproductive health is clouded by talk of abortion rights, women suffer both physically and mentally. Too many women have been lost at a time when the right to proper medical advice was not available – they have lost their right to survive. Clandestine abortions, the forced removal of infants, the requirement to carry fetuses that are not viable – all have dangerous consequences that have created lifelong trauma and sometimes premature death.

Reproductive health that gives doctors and patients (women and men) the opportunity to explore options for the best possible care is a medical issue, not a political or religious one. It should not be governed by arbitrary laws made by those in power whose programs do not include guaranteeing women’s rights.

When women are denied access to education, information that can lead to future progress, the world loses the potential contributions they can make to science, health care, business and society. security of a flourishing world civilization.

Instead of focusing on scarves, the real issue is the right to be recognized. Instead of focusing on abortion rights, the real issue is reproductive health. Acknowledging that denying access to education is a way of silencing women and keeping them hidden, keeping them in the dark about their own potential is misguided.

Women are so much more when they are given the right to participate fully in society.

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