Equality for women should come right along with basic human rights

Lys Anzia – WNN Commentary

An activist woman and her activist husband protest together at the Women's March in Washington DC in January 21, 2017. Image: Elvert Barnes/Flicker CC
An activist woman and husband team protest together at the Million Women March in Washington DC on January 21, 2017. Image: Elvert Barnes/Flicker CC

(WNN) WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES: As International Women’s Equality Day comes and goes we all need to ask this question: what does “equality” really mean? And why have millions of women been fighting for equality worldwide for centuries? These are the questions that continue to haunt women, as well as some well-intentioned male feminists, around the globe.

To say “I am equal to you” is more than just a human right or a requirement for membership in humanity. It’s something that should be easily available to all of us. And it should be offered to us regardless of our gender, the color of our skin, or our own DNA.

Equality for women should come right along with all basic human rights.

Adopted in Paris by the United Nations in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was guided by the peace work of Eleanor Roosevelt who used her international standing as a way to sway all the parties involved to sign on to the Declaration. While much of its gender-based language is outdated, this document is still respected today and defines human dignity for all as equal rights for all.

“…Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world,” said Eleanor Roosevelt.

More than ever women around the globe are now shouting out in private and public spaces, regardless of the possible backlash, “I am equal!”

As years of exhaustion reaches an apex in the search for global equal opportunity and equal outcome millions of women’s lives play out today in tugs of repression, sadness, anger and frustration. It’s no wonder women around the world are picking up the torch again to become public activists in larger-than-ever-before numbers.

Yes it’s true. Women everywhere are tired of being calm about injustice.

“Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel,” said that author Charlotte Bronte in her 1847 book Jane Eyre.

The fact is that women don’t want to be calm. Women don’t want to be weak. And women don’t want to be out of the decision-making circle with global policy.

We all know clearly the current tide of society throughout the world today is obviously not calm. And today’s women don’t feel like sitting down and shutting up.

Unfortunately women’s rights have been shrinking instead of expanding over the past few years. This is why women everywhere are now hitting the streets to speak out about the things they have been denied for so very long. Women everywhere want desperately to be included in all levels of society.

It’s way past time now to solve the war against women. This is why social critic and author Simone de Beauvoir said, “All oppression creates a state of war.”

Numerous women know, from their own life experience, that true world peace can only come to a society without oppression. But why does oppression against women linger in the world today? And why is so much of it directed against women?

The answer to this is a complex mix of factors in both Eastern and Western societies. Top on the list is fear of ‘the other’: one sex against the other; one religion against the other; one race against the other; one class against the other.

To begin to have a more compassionate society we must first allow those who are different than us to learn for themselves that difference is not bad.

The important message for those of you, both women and men, who haven’t stepped up yet to be advocates for women is this.

“Please don’t be afraid. Please support women who are trying hard to better the world.”


Human Right #1 from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: We are all born free and equal.

This video has been placed on Youtube by Youth For Human Rights International.


Recognized by UNESCO for ‘Professional Journalistic Standards and Code of Ethics” WNN began in 2005 as a solo blogger’s project by WNN founder Lys Anzia. Today it brings news stories on women from 5+ global regions to the attention of international ‘change-makers’ including the United Nations and over 600 NGO affiliates and United Nations agencies.


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