UN aims to improve women’s rights

Many believe 2014 is a crucial year for advancing women’s rights and furthering gender equality across the globe.

Empowering women and promoting gender equality is actually one of the United Nations’ (UN) eight millennium development goals, or areas it is seeking to improve from now until 2015. However barriers remain in the way of being able to fully accomplish this goal.

Violence against women is an extreme issue across the globe. One in Three Women is a global campaign that was established “to raise awareness about violence against women.” The organization’s title refers to the number of women that will experience violence in their lifetimes.

However, campaigns like One in Three Women, and other organizations that seek to spread awareness about violence against women are stunted due to severe lack of funding.

In addition, many of these underfunded women’s groups serve as umbrella organizations that fund other awareness campaigns, which leaves a bulk of them failing to reach their full potential.

Not only are women lacking the resources and funding to spread awareness about issues like violence, but they still lack an equal voice in the international community. Women are not invited to UN peace talks, which are aimed to foster positive relationships between countries all over the world.

Mallie Feltner, President of F.L.A.M.E. — the predominant feminist group on campus — believes change must take place at a higher level so that women can begin to thrive on a local level.

Feltner discussed the power the UN has to improve women’s worldwide quality of life.

“In every country around the world the women have a lower quality of life than their male counterparts, according to standards set by the UN. This obviously suggests no country values all genders as equal to one another,” Feltner said.

Feltner believes that if the UN faces difficulties enacting the needed change to improve conditions for women, it is because these women’s issues are not being whole-heartedly addressed.

“Women’s activists can only do so much at the local level, we need governments and organizations like the UN to prioritize women and the issues women face in order to end the systematic oppression endured across the globe,” Feltner said.

This year marks the ‘closing in’ of the UN’s 2015 goal to have empowered women and promoted gender equality. It will be interesting to see what changes, if any, are made to prioritize women’s issues and voice their opinions in the international community.

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