It is imperative that all human rights are respected for all human beings. However, human rights are violated daily around the world due to discrimination among other causes. Gender and sexuality are extremely important when it comes to protecting our human rights, as that protection needs to be extended beyond sexual orientation and gender identity and only then would society achieve balance and greatly develop.
The United Nations developed a strategy that seeks to achieve greater gender equality in the year 1997. Such strategy adopted the name of Gender mainstreaming. Its principal objective is to make sure that women and men have the same benefits and opportunities, and that inequality is not perpetuated. Later, on December 18, 2008, the UN General Assembly read a joint Statement on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity where additional rights were implemented.
There are two types of violations in which gender affects human rights: gender-specific aspects of human rights violations and violations of the human rights of women. There are violations of human rights that are specifically against women, for example targeting girls and women for sexual abuse, and there are other gender specific violations, such as prioritizing legal help to a man over a woman.
Gender equality and the empowerment of women will not be achieved until their sexual and reproductive health and rights are respected and protected. Some of the fundamental rights for women and girls, not limited to this list, are: to be able to fully participate in and contribute to poverty eradication, economic growth, and sustainable development, including to enable girls to complete their education and women to be able to have healthy and productive lives. To be able to control all matters related to our sexuality, including our sexual and reproductive health, free from violence.
Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work conditions, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will result in sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity greatly. Implementing reforms to promote female equality in the workplace and the eradication of harmful practices targeted at women is crucial to ending the gender-based discrimination still prevalent in many countries around the world (UNFPA).
Making sure that all human rights are respected for all human beings is a work in progress. Until this day, organizations like the UN, feminist movements and many more organizations keep fighting to accomplish gender equality, so everyone’s human rights are respected equally. Gender equality, women’s rights and human rights are essential to achieve sustainable development in society.