Texas State University-San Marcos
The need to make a concrete connection between human rights and women’s rights is ironic considering that one half of humanity is female. Gender inequality is the most pressing contemporary human rights issue given the abundant evidence of myriad inequities, brutalities, and atrocities directed toward billions of women and girls every day. Despite a long and documented history of virtual “gendercide” against women and girls, this disparity has been treated as essentially non-existent or ignored or, if acknowledged, regarded as unimportant or insignificant by the global community. Led by the United Nations (UN), there is now a growing global human rights effort to redress deeply rooted gender inequality throughout the world. This paper will focus specifically on sexual and reproductive health, examining both the extent of the problem and exploring some proposed solutions. Specific topics addressed include an overview of gender-based inequality, the need for female reproductive justice and healthcare, a brief overview of women's health rights, the UN human rights framework, current global human rights initiatives focused on women, and women human rights defenders.