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The United Nations: Revise The Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be gender-inclusive

The United Nations: Revise The Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be gender-inclusive
  
  

 


Why this is important


This is a petition of hope designed to inspire the good people of The United Nations to update The Universal Declaration of Human Rights to have 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 in the language. We know that women's rights are human rights and the undersigned believe it is time for men and women to be included in humankind instead of limited by 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 women struggling with human rights as well as women enjoying freedoms will experience a sense of liberation by being included in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a conscious way.

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. 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 women are truly considered as equal then women should truly be treated with language that is inclusive. 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.

You can 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 indeed 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 facing the female gender is raging in unprecedented ways, we the undersigned believe that human rights are women’s rights, and that justice and peace will be served at a very core level through honoring our contribution as a part of humankind in the language of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Project Revision is a movement to revise The Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be gender‐inclusive.

Posted January 30, 2014
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