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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

According to www.whrnet.org, “Battering is the greatest single cause of injury among U.S. women, accounting for more emergency room visits (over one million per year) than auto accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.” The United States is not the only environment where women are victims of such violence-the problem is global.

It wasn’t until 25 years ago this December that the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women (CEDAW), which applies to women on a global scale.

In recognition of December 10, International Human rights Day, the UMB Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) recently presented a film on the 1993 Vienna Tribunal on Violence Against Women, featuring the disturbing yet inspirational stories women from around the globe.

According to a www.whrnet.org, “the Vienna Tribunal on Violations of Women’s Human Rights…highlighted violence against women as a global human rights emergency and called on governments and the UN to take actions commensurate with the scale and gravity of the problem.”

Following the movie, HRWG members moderated a discussion. One member, Rita Arditti, author and Human Rights Activist, commented, “Women’s rights are the rights of half the world’s population.” Elora Chowdhury, professor of women’s studies at UMB added, “Violence against women is a human rights issue.”

Violence against women is not the only oppressive situation women face today. Welfare Rights Activist and CPCS faculty member Diane Dujon built on Arditti’s point by stating, “We have got to change things not in the U.S. but in the world.” She claimed that welfare reform wasn’t working. “We should not have people starving in the richest nation in the world.”

Diana Bell, a student at UMB, commented, “For me, human rights discourse is mainstream, but a marginalized movement…at times critics see women’s rights as an overbearing term. Human rights discourse is not a static term or concept.” According to the HRWG mission statement, the group works to “Have an impact on the awareness and dialogue of human rights at UMB through educational events, academic programs, and direct actions” but seek to “foster a climate on campus that links the realization of human rights through action and theory.”

The group is calling for human rights courses at UMB, stating, “A human rights course could be one that raises consciousness and knowledge about human rights, discusses their importance to achieve a free and just society, and stresses the need to integrate those rights into the public sphere.”

For more information, contact the HRWG at [email protected].