Are men still determining women’s human rights? (part 1)

Aside from the starring role of Eleanor Roosevelt, the other members of the Commission tasked with framing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) were male. The document was originally drafted to open: ‘All men are brothers’ and referred throughout to the rights of men. It was the intervention of Jessie Street, Australia’s only woman delegate to the United Nations, that resulted in Article 1 instead reading: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’

Unfortunately, despite Street’s efforts to rid the declaration of its sexist language, she was only partially successful and to this day, this most revered and authoritative document still refers to ‘mankind’, ‘man’, ‘the spirit of brotherhood’ and makes exclusive use of the male pronoun. The failure to provide acknowledgement of women throughout the document undermines the provisions declaring that rights should be enjoyed without discrimination.

Street’s attempt to establish a right for women to be free from violence was also unsuccessful, while her argument for greater recognition of the rights of motherhood resulted in a rather paternalistic compromise with the drafting of Article 25, which groups mothers with children as needing ‘special care and assistance’. This is a far cry from recognising the critical bond between mothers and their children, and the right of mothers not to be separated from their offspring

CEDAW also provides inadequate recognition of maternal rights, since it provides only that women should have equal rights with men in relation to the number and spacing of children and the rights and guardianship in respect to those children. There is a failure to acknowledge the greater physical, psychological and economic impact that childbearing has on women and to ensure that this reality translates into additional human rights attaching to motherhood. Rather, the critical bond between a mother and child is disregarded by international human rights law, which instead enshrines ‘family’, a difficult construct to define, as the fundamental unit of society.

This blind spot had a significant impact on Australian legislation, such as our Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) which is framed to protect marriage, the family and the ‘best interests of the child’ but fails to acknowledge the distinct human right of mothers to be supported to retain care of their offspring. This has left the way open for child removal policies and the promotion of adoption and surrogacy, and for abuse and manipulation of the family law system by male perpetrators. It has established a world view in which having a relationship with the biological mother is regarded as superfluous to a child’s needs.

[This is an edited extract – the original article is published by the Australian Lawyer’s Alliance and can be accessed at the link below.]

Source: Are men still determining women’s human rights? (part 1) – Australian Lawyers Alliance

Attorney Kara Dansky slams trans activism as ‘men’s rights movement’

  • Kara Dansky believes the Equality Act would cause women’s rights to ‘disappear’
  • The act would add both sexual orientation and gender identity to Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination on race, color, sex, religion, national origin
  • Dansky claims it isn’t possible to both ‘enshrine gender identity’ and ‘protect women and girls as a distinct legal category’
  • Her organization – radical feminist group Women’s Liberation Front – sued Obama administration for allowing trans kids to use bathroom of their choice
  • Hacsi Horvath, who once identified as transgender, also claimed that women have been ‘overwhelmingly’ resisting transgender activism
  • ‘Straight men are all about the trans, and you have to wonder what the heck is going on,’ he claimed
[category global, trans]


‘Thrown to the wolves’ – the women who drive for Uber and Lyft

“I had to report a passenger who grabbed me while I was driving,” said Zuwena Belt, a Lyft driver in Portland, Oregon. Ms Belt runs a Facebook group for female ride-share drivers.

“After ending the ride, I placed a call to Lyft’s critical response team and the police. While [Lyft] were on the line, they refused to share information with the officer on scene.”

Lyft said it worked closely with law enforcement and had a process for providing passenger information but in almost all cases a warrant was required.

Several drivers told BBC News how both Uber and Lyft’s “lost and found” function – where passengers can get in touch directly with drivers to recover things left in the car – were being abused by those seeking to have more contact with drivers well after a trip had ended
[category global, sexual violence, sexual harassment, workforce discrimination]


A Mother’s Fatal Fall on Subway Stairs Rouses New Yorkers to Demand Accessibility

Like so many New York City parents, Ms. Goodson faced a familiar but perilous challenge: hauling her stroller and daughter down the steps of a station that, like most stops in the city’s creaking subway system, had no elevator.

As Ms. Goodson made her descent, she fell, tumbling down a flight of stairs and onto the subway platform at the Seventh Avenue station, at 53rd Street, officials said.

Her daughter survived the fall. Ms. Goodson did not.

A lawsuit filed in 2017 against the transit authority, which operates the subway, described New York’s subway system as one of the least accessible in the country and accused the agency of violating the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.

[ed: and it is also a form of sex discrimination that disadvantages women with children.]
[category global, reproductive rights, inequity]


Campaigners use Letchworth and Harpenden statues for ‘pro-women’ campaign

Members of a Herts feminist group have joined a UK-wide campaign to “reclaim the definition of women”, which involves dressing iconic female statues in T-shirts which have a dictionary definition of ‘woman’ on the front.

Source: Campaigners use Letchworth and Harpenden statues for ‘pro-women’ campaign | Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth, Biggleswade News – The Comet

Why incels are a ‘real and present threat’ for Canadians

Criminologists and sociologists are sounding the alarm over extreme and violent internet subcultures that include incels, saying the threat they pose isn’t being taken seriously enough.

“It’s about their proprietary violence, that they think they have some sort of inborn inherent right and privilege to access women and women’s bodies and so that is the bit that animates them,” Barbara Perry, a criminologist specializing in hate crime at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, told The Fifth Estate.

And while Perry said she’s tracked 120 instances of alt-right violence in the last 30 years in Canada, during the same period there were seven incidents of Islamist-inspired extremism.

“I think that really puts in context what the risk is.”

Source: Why incels are a ‘real and present threat’ for Canadians | CBC News

The UAE handed out awards for gender balance & men won them all

The winners were exclusively male and it was no parody.

The vice-president of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, presented the awards for “best government entity supporting gender balance”, “best federal authority supporting gender balance” and “best gender balance initiative”. The recipients were all men.

Source: The UAE handed out awards for gender balance & men won them all

The UAE handed out awards for gender balance & men won them all

A tweet on Sunday from Dubai’s official social media account announcing the winners of the government’s gender equality awards attracted global attention.

The winners were exclusively male and it was no parody.

Source: The UAE handed out awards for gender balance & men won them all

The nation-builders we constantly fail to recognise

If it’s late enough in summer that we’ve grown exhausted of complaining about the weather, it must be time to have a few too many beers and start punching We all know of the great men who shaped Australia, but what of the great women — women like John Macarthur’s wife, who ran the farm while he was off fighting, feuding and facing charges on the other side of the world

Source: John Birmingham: The nation-builders we constantly fail to recognise | The New Daily The nation-builders we always fail to recognise

Feminists call for a rational debate on gender and the law

At a packed meeting of A Woman’s Place UK, feminists made clear the importance of sex-specific laws and research and the danger posed by muddled reforms, report LYNNE WALSH and ROS SITWELL

Source: Feminists call for a rational debate on gender and the law | Morning Star