Women’s Rights has nothing to do with Religion

A factor of development that not many developing countries realize is the freedom and effect of women’s rights. Women began to fight for their rights since the end of World War I. During this time, the world was trying to create an international organization to ease cooperation between nations and create a new phase of world-polity. The organizations established were the League of Nations and the International Labor Organization (ILO). Although these organizations concentrated on managing relations among states, it is not in their jurisdiction to manage relationships between states and their citizens. The League proved to be counterproductive for women’s issues. It wasn’t till the 1970’s during the United Nation’s Decade for Women did women’s rights achieve global attention. Women’s issues became important to development. Many countries started to see the importance of establishing women’s movement and most governments in the world created an official state agency to promote women’s issues.[1] The establishment of women’s movement and the ability to force the world to face women’s issues helped compress the world as a single global social system. There have been three UN conferences that have helped the improvement and expansion of women’s issues. The first conference was the first time women’s issues were discussed in world leading organizations. The second conference, women start gaining international attention and nations start altering their rules and establishing bureaus and departments to deal with women’s issues.[2] The third conference helped with the emergence of world-culture ideas about women through developing countries.

Although, empirically, the women’s movement has gained a lot of momentum and has received more freedoms, in many nations and cultures some women are still marginalized. Many could argue that for women to achieve global freedoms, women’s rights should be globally defined. An issue that tends to be overlooked is the diversity and differences in culture between nations. This logic is often stretched to suggest that whereas Western societies embody a cultural predisposition towards the international human rights framework, it is considered foreign, unfamiliar, and extraneous in other cultural settings.[3] What many fail to recognize is the difference of culture and how women’s rights are incorporated. The Western opinion tends to view Muslim women as oppressed due to their hijab or religion. What they fail to note is that women whom identify as Muslim do so with their free will. There is no relation between Islam and human rights because in many Islamic dominated nations, citizens enjoy their freedoms and rights. Countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia with large populations of Muslims do not suffer from the same issues of human rights such as Iran or Saudi Arabia. A common Western stereotype is that Islam oppresses individuals and causes a decline in women’s rights. Matter of fact, nations with bigger populations of Muslims such as Malaysia and Indonesia tend to not suffer from the same issues as Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is important to realize that women’s movement takes a different form in every nation. The different levels of diversity and cultures affect the meaning of women’s rights. Women’s rights cannot be examined through a singular lens; it has many dimensions that effect how women’s rights is analyzed and incorporated within nations.

[1] Berkovitch, N. (2015). The Emergence and Transformation of the International Women’s Movement. In The Globalization Reader (5th ed., pp. 314–318). UK: Wiley Blackwell.

[2] Berkovitch, N. (2015). The Emergence and Transformation of the International Women’s Movement. In The Globalization Reader (5th ed., pp. 314–318). UK: Wiley Blackwell.

[3] Barlow, R. (2015). Women’s Human Rights and the Muslim Question. In The Globalization Reader (5th ed., pp. 326–333). UK: Wiley Blackwell.

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