Human Rights and Ethics

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The movement on promoting the right’s of women as human rights have gained visibility and achieved a major mainstream status.  The law has been oppressive of women and the emancipation as well as promotion of their interests has been of limited value.  There have been numerous claims that in numerous respects, the law has been inherently male oriented. Most people assert that it had been designed by men in order to serve predominantly on the interests of men and functioned historically in order to maintain male domination and refute to withstand divergent reforms. The inherent bias against the women in law is usually evident in the domestic as well as the international law. This paper will hence analyze various articles and discuss on the role that class, gender, ethnicity as well as locale play as far as women’s rights are concerned. It will give a detailed analysis of the theoretical issues that have been addressed and how reality has made theory in the cases complicated once the reality is taken in full account and the extent at which the authors agree on the points they bring up as well as the recommendations.

The stereotypical image of a woman comes mainly from the modern males who have for a long time dominated most fields in the workforce. Women’s rights have been long neglected and ignored. Women’s rights are usually the freedoms and entitlements that are usually claimed by girls and women of all ages in the society. In some societies, the rights are usually institutionalized and supported by the local custom, law as well as behavior though they are highly suppressed and ignored. Some of the issues that are commonly associated with the notion of women’s rights comprise of the right to bodily autonomy and integrity, to vote, holding the public office, and working, having equal and fair wages, owning property, education and even serve in the military.

In the book “Universal human rights: moral order in a divided world” (David & Mortimer, 2005, pp. 81), Lucinda argues that for a very long time the feminist scholars as well as the human rights agencies and organizations  have worked hard in order to incorporate the rights of women in order to end the oppression of women globally. In the book, Lucinda expresses some feminist concerns. The title itself is controversial as it creates a mental picture on what she is about to say next; are women human. She affirms that women have been long neglected and even excluded from the debate over legal rights and law as well as the international human rights. Also she affirms that women have lacked support of other women thus their opinion and meanings are unlikely to range over the normal basic interests of women. Most people have felt that it is unreasonable for women to be empowered and their interests advanced.

She asserts that the feminist theory commenced in USA with liberal approach then the cultural and finally the gender critiques. She asserts that in order to curb all the worries that feminism brings about; there is a need of a more self conscious pragmatic feminism which is usually more fruitful way of struggling with feminism in order to end patriarchy. She argues that the diversity of the institutional and cultural contexts in which girls and women are oppressed and the diversity of the interests affirmed by girls and women do demand a flexible and a pragmatic approach to the rights of women. This kind of approach is hence suited in promoting the feminist goals as well as respecting the women’s agency in order to determine on the course of their lives.

Lucinda argues that men ought to resolve conflicts on the ethics of justice basis that is usually framed in terms of the individual rights as well as abstract legalistic justice and fairness principles while the women usually resolve the conflicts on ethic of care basis that is usually less adversarial and does embody the principles of maintaining relationships, nurturing as well as community.

In the article “do Muslim women really need saving?  Anthropological reflections on cultural relativism and its others”, Abu-Lughod (2002, pp. 783), explores on the ethics on the war against terrorism asking on whether or not anthropology which is a field that has been devoted on comprehending as well as dealing with the cultural differences can offer us justifications made for USA intervention in the Afghanistan as far as saving and liberating are concerned.

She affirms that there are patent dangers in reifying culture and creating attractive culture icons for example the Muslim woman over the messy political and historical dynamics. She argues that there should be equality, rights and freedom among the Muslim women. There is a need to work with those women in the situations that are subject to the historical transformation and consider some of the powerful global injustice that have always inflicted them. She deeply analyzes the feminists from the west and those who are concerned about women and the plight of the Muslim women.

Understanding of cultural differences is the main key to being functional in the ever changing world. Lila Abu-Lughod has confronted the western paternalism and has suggested that instead of just trying to force on some values to other people, we ought to endeavor in making the world more just. Is it possible to be a feminist and at the same time not be a western? Lila challenges people to evaluate as well as confront comprehensions on feminism. Do women or feminism have any relevance as far as cross culture is concerned? Lila argues that feminism should not be exclusive to the western cosmopolitanism. However, it is usually a unique form of gender equity that is better comprehend when the westerners reevaluate on their comprehensions of the Muslim culture  as well as the role of the women in that culture.

The author hence argues that the fight against terrorism is also a major fight on the dignity as well as the rights of the women. The platitudes on the plight of the Muslim women have been immensely criticized as being more than just a racist diatribe that is usually used in justifying US intervention in the underlying countries.

The westerners have so many misunderstandings on the purpose of women who cover their heads and are always interpreted as a desire to limit the freedom of women.  This perspective hence ignores on the concept of women who cover themselves as being an Islamic mark of piety and identity.

Abu- Lugod has suggested that though The Taliban’s influence in the Afghanistan has been highly reduced over years, most Muslim women have not rejoiced about it.   This has hence gone right in the face of the simplistic view of the traditions as well as the religion of other cultures. Most people assume that keeping the veil can be out of fear for example because abused wives are always afraid of leaving their husbands.  He adds that this veil usually adds the Muslim women an added ability and mobility to move about in the public places. He affirms that it is not really usually out of fear but about the moral and religious laws of the Muslim people in keeping of women from being seen by some unrelated men.

Abu-Lughod asserts that we ought to accept on the fact that we are all quite different and we all want as well as need divergent things. The reasons why the Muslim women would want to remove the veil can be quite divergent from the reasons of the Western women.  She affirms that people do not need to be just cultural relativists but we ought to have prior knowledge on the histories as well as circumstances that we require in order to comprehend that the veil is usually a social structure. The author also brings the fact that Eastern feminists as well as the western have divergent goals since they are usually come from divergent cultures. She urges all people to unite and be supportive to all feminism. In an attempt to free the women and focus on the forced veiling without having to take into account the true culture relativism, we are hence dividing the world into divergent spheres through recreating geography of west versus East.

Women ought to be respected and understood according to the cultures they are coming from.  The veil should not be seen as a sign of slavery but as a sign of freedom and protection. The women hence need no any saving as they have been saved by their culture.

Sally (2003, pp. 55-76) in her article “human rights law and the demonization of culture”, talks at length on the rights of women in Pakistan. She is in conflict with the rights of women and the Pakistan culture on the issue that concerned raping of a certain woman that had been localized by the local council. She asserts that cultures have no any expansion of capitalism and should not be excused in violating the rights of women. He argues that most anthropologist withhold human rights only in an attempt to embrace and protect the culture.

There are numerous theories of culture that make people act the way they do. The view of culture as integrated, homogenous as well as a consensual system definitely meaning that culture ought to be criticized as well as accepted as a whole. The conception of the culture as being just static tradition is quite fundamental to the contemporary transnational discourse of human rights. Political movements for example the fight against issues to do with female genital mutilation hence reinforce on the notion of culture.  These practices have brought physical and mental suffering and pain to these women and girls’ hence suffering under this practice entails its duty on the women’s sexuality which is restricted and their subordination ensured. The author asserts that the African women have been faced by numerous problems including lack of access to quality education, jobs, adequate food and water and equal inheritance. Struggles against FGM have been conceptualized as being against culture and is quite specific against some of the ancient and harmful traditional practices.

The authors of the three articles have embarked deeply on the role of gender as far as women’s rights are concerned. They all affirm that a gender blind universal perspective is quite common and little has been done in expressing of some of the inequalities that are predominant between both men and women. They reveal that the invisibility of issues to do with gender in all political agendas have huge implications. Women have continually being underestimated and though much have been written on their rights, very little has been done as far as making their rights known and accepted.

In order to counter the blindness, there is hence a need to counter the gender blindness and focus immensely on the rights of women as well as adopt gender lenses in all the dimensions that deals with advocacy, monitoring, planning learning and even reflection. There ought to be some special attention on issues affecting the lives of girls and women in order to come up as well as build affirmative strategies to overcome the social and political differences between both men and women. Gender discrimination has been a rooted problem and is usually seen as something that can never change.  This perspective and attitude hence tends to depoliticize on the gender issues pitting them outside the actual agenda of reflection and political action. In order for women to achieve justice, it is essential for them to be at per with each other and have a firm approach through cultural fundamentalisms.

The three authors have immensely debated on the issues affecting women and the major plights of women. Lucinda argues that women have been denied chances in high positions and the fact that women have been disunited thus discrimination has taken place. Abu-Lughod on the other hand expounds on the rights of Muslim women and the reasons why their dressing code should be respected and not seen as a sign of fear or discrimination.

Sally analyzes on the rights of Pakistan women and how people have used the culture to dehumanize and manipulate women. There is a need for women empowerment in order to correct on the social injustices that have surrounded them. Ethnicity has played a major role too as far as the rights of women are concerned. People coming from various cultural background and ethnicity have a way in which they view the rights of women on the simple concepts of culture.

The locality as well as the class is also another factor that affects the rights of women. As Abu-Lughod asserts, people are different and their localities are also different thus their culture and needs are different and ought to be protected and respected in order to prevent the infringement on the rights of women. Women need to come together to respect and support each other

The reality that is reflected in these cases has made the theory to be more complicated. Most of the content that has been discussed have emphasized on culture in relation to human rights. The theoretical analysis is quite complicated as it almost assumes that one thing has to be given up in order to achieve the concept of human rights among women. Culture has played a major role as far as human rights are concerned and it is imperative that culture and the rights of women be separated in order to achieve balance and stop the issues of discrimination against women.

The three authors have agreed that women’s rights are quite imperative and there is a need to focus on the pressing issues that have so far been a major threat to women’s rights though have been highly ignored.. They have discussed on the issues of culture and how culture have been used to infringe on the rights of women. They all assert that women’s rights should be embarked on and they should be respected irrespective of their cultural background affiliations. Cultures should be seen as a stepping ground for justice and unity and not a source of fear and discrimination.

Women’s rights globally are a crucial indicator in comprehension of the global well being.  Despite numerous successes in empowering of women , there are still numerous issues that are still in existence in all areas of life that range from political, economic as well as cultural.  Most people might think that the women’s rights are just issues in some certain areas for example in Muslim countries. However, research has shown otherwise as this has turned to be a global issue that ought to be addressed.  The importance of women’s rights as well as gender equality ought to be never underestimated as they are equally important people in the society.

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