On September 5, 1995, Hillary Clinton gave a speech at the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, where she declared, “It is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights.”
As Clinton moves forward in her presidential campaign, women’s rights and gender topics have remained at the forefront of her platform.
She has broken her campaign into four “fights,” one of which is tackling social issues affecting the strength of American families.
These issues include the wage gap between genders, paid leave and addressing human rights within the LGBT community.
In her 1995 speech at the Fourth World Conference on Women, Clinton stated, “We need to understand there is no one formula for how women should lead our lives. That is why we must respect the choices that each woman makes for herself and her family.”
This statement rings true even in today’s feminist movement, a word or concept that has seemingly constructed an air around itself as being “untouchable,” “dismissive” or “irritating.”
While there are many women’s rights issues occurring all over the globe, such as abuse, trafficking and being denied a right to education, there is still a good amount of women’s rights issues in our own nation that cry for attention as well.
The United States of America is one of seven countries that have not ratified The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which is considered the international bill of rights for women.
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), there about 293,000 victims of rape and sexual assault every year. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), over 10 million women and men are physically abused by an intimate partner, with highest percentage of victims being women between the ages of 18 to 24.
In terms of Clinton’s bold statement about respecting the choices a woman makes for herself, access to abortions for women in the United States is shrinking, due to increased restrictions.
Some of these restrictions include late-abortion bans, long waiting periods, clinic regulations and bans on insurance coverage.
Taking away a woman’s right to a legal abortion forces her to turn to more clandestine means, thus jeopardizing health and safety.
These are just a few examples of women’s rights issues within the boundaries of America.
Clinton’s platform for strengthening America’s families includes addressing the wage gap between men and women. A woman, on average, makes $0.78 to every dollar earned by a man. Black women make $0.64 to every dollar and Latinas make $0.56 to every dollar.
For many families, these few cents lost per dollar really add up, creating difficulty in being able to provide and save.
Even outside of the family, single working women should be able to take home the same amount a man has made, not less because of her anatomy.
Anatomy is not synonymous with skill or worth.
In order to deal with the wage gap, Clinton aims to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which, according to Congress, “amends the portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) known as the Equal Pay Act to revise remedies for, enforcement of, and exceptions to prohibitions against sex discrimination in the payment of wages.”
She also is proposing a raise in minimum wage and the introduction of paid leave so Americans will not have to sacrifice their income because of a newborn child, taking care of a sick family member or being sick themselves.
Human rights within the LGBT community is also being addressed by Clinton’s platform.
She aims to help give LGBT Americans and their families the rights to “live, learn, marry and work free from discrimination.”
In her famous 1995 speech in Beijing, she stated, “Women’s rights are human rights,” and has extended this assertion to include the LGBT community, in her recently-released video, featuring many married LGBT couples.
The video ends with a moving statement that “being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights. And human rights are gay rights.”
Clinton plans to combat discrimination against the LGBT community and has a record of being heavily involved in the international movement to end this discrimination around the globe.
She produced a daring and equally heroic statement in her 2011 address in Geneva, when it came to international human rights, saying, “It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave.”
It is no doubt there are many social issues at the forefront of the next presidential race, with women’s and gender issues being main topics.
When we search “feminism in the United States,” or “women’s rights in the United States,” we are met with links to historical movements such as those ranging from about 1848 to 1970.
However, the fight is long from being a part of history.
The movement toward gender equality in the United States and around the globe is a slow fight that will continue to take more time.
Hillary Clinton’s platform is indicative of the progress we have already achieved, and how much further we have to go.