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Poverty and Hunger


The Global Persecution of Women

Human Rights


Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. ...

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 7.

All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.


Discrimination against women violates the principles of equality of rights and respect for human dignity, is an obstacle to the participation of women, on equal terms with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life of their countries, hampers the growth of the prosperity of society and the family and makes more difficult the full development of the potentialities of women in the service of their countries and of humanity.

The full and complete development of a country, the welfare of the world and the cause of peace require the maximum participation of women on equal terms with men in all fields.

A change in the traditional role of men as well as the role of women in society and in the family is needed to achieve full equality between men and women. (CEDAW)

Article 2

States Parties condemn discrimination against women in all its forms, agree to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating discrimination against women.

Article 5

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures:

(a) To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women.


For a report on how hunger unequally affects women, see the Hunger Project, Gender Dimensions of Hunger.

”Gender bias 'increases poverty,'” BBC News, 11 Dec. 2006.

Inequality at home between men and women leads to poorer health for the children and greater poverty for the family, says a new study.

The UN children's agency, Unicef, found that where women are excluded from family decisions, children are more likely to be under-nourished.

There would be 13m fewer malnourished children in South Asia if women had an equal say in the family, Unicef said.

Unicef surveyed family decision-making in 30 countries around the world.

Their chief finding is that equality between men and women is essential to lowering poverty and improving health, especially of children, in developing countries.

The conclusions are contained in the agency's State of the World's Children 2007 report.

Lack of opportunities

"There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women," said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

"Discrimination against women of all ages deprives the world's children - all of them, not just the half who are girls - of the chance to reach their potential."

The report points to a greater lack of opportunities for girls and women in education and employment that contributes to disempowerment and poverty.

Where men control the household, less money is spent on health care and food for the family, resulting in poorer health for the children.

For example, in Ivory Coast and Ghana, it was discovered that when women's income increased for whatever reason, they spent the extra on more food for the family, whereas an increase in men's income made no significant difference, Unicef said.

In many households across the developing world, Unicef found that women are excluded from health-related decisions.

Children in these families are more likely to be undernourished as the family spends less on food, Unicef said.

Gender equality in family decision-making in South Asia would lead to 13.4m fewer malnourished children, a 13% reduction, the report said.


Women also work longer hours than men across the developing world, spending much of their time, even when in paid employment, on household chores, the report said.

In many families where women work, daughters are taken out of school to perform domestic chores and take care of other children.

Increasing employment and income-earning opportunities for women would increase women's household power, Unicef said.

For example, the agency found that whoever has the greater share of household income and assets decides whether those resources will be used to meet family needs.

The status of women in the family is paralleled in the political world, Unicef said. Women's involvement in government tends to result in policies that are focused on children and families.

But, the report said, women are under-represented in legislatures around the world due to lower levels of education, social attitudes and their greater work burden.


The Global Persecution of Women