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United Nations: Revise The Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be Gender-Inclusive

United Nations: Revise The Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be Gender-Inclusive

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This petition has been created by Shiloh S. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
Shiloh S.
started this petition to
The United Nations and the People of the World
This is a call of hope designed to inspire the people of The United Nations to revise The Universal Declaration of Human Rights be gender-inclusive language. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains words like 'mankind', 'brotherhood', 'he', 'his' and ‘himself’ over 25 times and does not fairly include women and other genders in the language. We choose to no longer be referred to as mankind.

If you are in support of a revision that includes gender inclusive language please sign this petition. We believe that language is indeed a part of how we perceive ourselves, and the those in a continual strugge with basic human rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is one of the most translated and printed documents in the world, and is accepted as a commonly agreed upon document of the human family and continues to be taught in school. The preamble states:

"Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations..."

A “common standard of achievement for all people” should represent the people it claims to be supporting. As a human family standing together for human rights, we humbly and joyfully suggest that it is time for a revision that includes women in the language. In the second sentence of the preamble it states: "Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind..."

This is a call for conscience, for progress, kindness, inclusiveness, and for our human family to be referred to in a manner consistent with the bold claims made in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - in the very second sentence of Article 1, it states:

"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."

If all beings are truly considered as equal then we should truly be treated with language that is inclusive even in a 'historical document' We are requesting that words like brotherhood and mankind be replaced with humanity or humankind. Articles that include only the male pronouns need to be revised and revisited. Articles that need to be revisited include but are not limited to: 1, 8, 10, 11.1, 12, 13.2, 15.2, 17.2, 18, 21.1/21.2, 22, 23.3/23.4, 25.1, 27.2, 29.1/29.2.

Read it for yourself here: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

My Story: In 2013 after attending the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York I purchased every copy on hand of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights to proudly bring home to the women and girls in my community. My surprise that this incredible document representing all nations has yet to be updated, sparked this petition, and many conversations with my community about the true implications and impact of women and girls being referred to as ‘brotherhood’. Personally, I felt ashamed to share the Declaration with my community, so disturbed by this blatant disregard for women. I proceeded to share it anyway, and we read it together with gender-inclusivity as an act of solidarity. The most common response women have when I speak to them about the Declaration is that do not feel included or represented. Not feeling included in one of the most important universally accepted documents on human rights is not consistent with the very stated values of the Declaration. While we understand that in years past masculine language was more universally accepted, we now stand that it is time for a revision of this languaging on a global scale, and where better to begin than The Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

In a world in which that war and violence is raging in unprecedented ways, we the undersigned believe that human rights are women’s rights, and the rights of all genders and that justice will be served at a core level by including humankind in the language of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Equal Rights Ammendment to the United States constitution still wasn't passed in 2020, an almost 100 year struggle. CEDAW, The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women ( CEDAW ) is an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly. Described as an international bill of rights for women, has been ratified by almost every country, except the United Sates. Amnesty International says: "The United States  is among a small minority of countries that have  not yet ratified CEDAW , including Iran and Sudan. The United States has  the dubious distinction of being the only country in the  Western Hemisphere and the only industrialized democracy that has  not ratified  this treaty."

We need change. We need to begin at the root of the documents that are not gender-inclusive.

Project Revision is a movement to revise The Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be Gender-Inclusive.

Posted (Updated )