Inspiring Change for Women’s Rights and Dignity - Meeting Report

Inspiring change - Cover ENGLISH

For every woman who is unafraid and every girl who can dream, millions remain unsung and uncelebrated, caught in a bleak cycle of toil and trauma. Condemned at birth in many societies to be the helper, producer, reproducer, water bearer, nurse, cleaner and housekeeper, women and girls know what the world has yet to recognize and value – denial of basic sanitation traps women in a cycle of silence, shame and denied opportunities.

8 March is a reminder of the struggles ahead even as we celebrate the gains. More women in parliament and in the boardroom, more men helping out at home and supporting their daughter’s, wife’s and mother’s aspirations does not mean that we are close to achieving parity in business, finance or politics. Most disturbing is the continued violation of basic human rights. We are entering an era of freer movement of information and capital, creating a wealth of opportunities that unfortunately place the voiceless and powerless even further behind as the world denies their basic rights to live with decency and dignity.

On 8 March 2014, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and WSSCC paid homage to the unsung feminine, reminding all present of the equal value of every human life and of our collective and individual obligation to fight stigma, discrimination and inequality. The meeting listened and learned. Using sanitation and hygiene as an entry point to explore human rights in the world’s poorest countries, we heard stories of struggle and success for women and communities in Nepal, India and Senegal.