Women's Rights as Human Rights

United Nations, Geneva, 20-21 November 1998


December 10 1998 marks the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the member states of the United Nations. The Declaration confirms in its 30 articles on civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights the universality of human rights.

In 1993 the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the UN World Conference on Human Rights and in 1995 the Beijing Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the Fourth UN World Conference on Women built upon the principles in the Universal Declaration and reaffirmed that enjoyment by women of their human rights is a priority for governments and the United Nations.

Considerable progress has been made, but human rights continue to be ignored in many countries. The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is a fundamental human rights instrument that deals with gender issues and women's rights in both the public and private spheres.

The Convention's protocol is a tool for integrating women's human rights and for strengthening the implementation of the rights formulated in CEDAW.

However the existing reporting system needs to be moreexplicit and therefore the UN Commission on the Status of Women has been attempting to formulate an optional protocol to the Convention that will allow women to seek redress for violations of their human rights, including gender-based violence. This is a measure which SIW fully supports.

The following policy measures are examples of actions which assist the achievement of equality between women and men:

  • The definition by governments of national gender equality objectives and indicators to assess the impact of their policies.
  • The establishment of independent human rights institutions having a mandate to monitor the situation with regard to women's enjoyment of human rights including social and economic rights in the broadest context.
  • The integration of a women's perspective in all human rights activities in order to ensure that women enjoy cultural, civil, political, economic and social rights including the right to freedom from all forms of violence.
  • International financial institutions integrating human rights' impact assessments and gender impact analysis into their programmes.



Statement on Turkey's Withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention

22 March 2021

The Socialist International Women are very sorry to receive the news of Turkey’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention determined by the President's decree on March 20, 2021...

Effective Participation and Decision-Making in Public Life - Key to Achieving Gender Equality

16 March 2021

65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), United Nations, New York, from 15 to 26 March 2021

Virtual Parallel Event hosted by the Socialist International Women (SIW)

International Women's Day Declaration

08 March 2021

Socialist International Women (SIW) warmly applauds this year’s International Women’s Day theme of “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”...

Season's Greeting!

December 2020

Wishing peace and equality for 2021

SIW Executive Meeting

18 December 2020

COVID-19 and the Impact this is Having on Women and Gender Equality in the Different Regions

Declaration on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25 November 2020

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is a powerful call to stand in solidarity with all women and girls worldwide...

Message of Support for Turkey and Greece Following 30th October Earthquake

October 2020

The Socialist International Women offers its sincere condolences to Turkey and Greece following the devastating earthquake under the Aegean Sea on 30th October 2020...

Message of Solidarity with all Women and Girls Worldwide during the COVID-19 Pandemic

October 2020

The Socialist International Women stands in firm solidarity with all women and girls worldwide during this deeply painful, devastating period of the COVID-19 pandemic...

Declaration on Israel and Palestine

June 2020

Socialist International Women (SIW) is extremely concerned with the announcement of Israel’s plan to annex large and vital parts of Palestinian territory with the support of the Trump administration...

Statement on COVID-19

April 2020

In this time of acute crisis our global solidarity, humanity and cooperation are more important now than they have ever been...


The First Hundred Years

A Short History of Socialist International Women

By Irmtraut Karlsson

This book tells the history of the first one hundred years of the Socialist International Women