Trinidad and Tobago Humanist Association

tt.humanist :: views :: gender

Gender Rights and Empowerment

'"The International Bill of Gender Rights (IBGR) ... are universal rights which can be claimed and exercised by every human being."

Our view ...

There is a strong correlation between gender rights and national development. Unfortunately, discussion of gender issues is often corrupted by irrationality from both traditionalists and feminists. As in all other issues, the TT Humanist Association will use the best research and ethical argument on gender matters, the most controversial of which is undoubtedly abortion law reform and gay rights. We are neither in favour nor opposed to abortion, since we believe it is a matter of individual conscience. However, we do support reform of the abortion law since the present law, apart from being unclear and bereft of a proper jurisprudential foundation, constitutes a trespass on the right of the woman to choose. We also support equal rights for homosexuals since, unlike those who oppose such rights, we do not think tolerance of homosexuality causes people to become gay.

From our Leaflet 285K

See • TT Humanist : Forum : Commentary :

Catholics criticise Government's Draft Gender Policy?
TT Humanist Statement on 2005-2006 Budget Speech
Draft National Gender Policy and Action Plan

See • TT Humanist : Forum : Letters :

"The Draft Gender Policy ... intended to benefit the society as a whole"
"It's unfair to deny gays equal rights"
"Keep your faith to yourself, Justice Soo Hon"

Global extract ...

The International Bill of Gender Rights - As adopted 17 June1995 Houston, Texas, USA

"The International Bill of Gender Rights (IBGR) strives to express human and civil rights from a gender perspective.  However, the ten rights enunciated below are not to be viewed as special rights applicable to a particular interest group.  Nor are these rights limited in application to persons for whom gender identity and gender role issues are of paramount concern.  All ten sections of the IBGR are universal rights which can be claimed and exercised by every human being."

  1. The Right To Define Gender Identity
  2. The Right To Free Expression Of Gender Identity
  3. The Right To Secure And Retain Employment And To Receive Just Compensation
  4. The Right Of Access To Gendered Space And Participation In Gendered Activity
  5. The Right To Control And Change One's Own Body
  6. The Right To Competent Medical And Professional Care
  7. The Right To Freedom From Psychiatric Diagnosis Or Treatment
  8. The Right To Sexual Expression
  9. The Right To Form Committed, Loving Relationships And Enter Into Marital Contracts
  10. The Right To Conceive, Bear, Or Adopt Children; The Right To Nurture And Have Custody Of Children And To Exercise Parental Capacity

Sources: www.plannedparenthood.orgPage Top

'"Abortion is never an easy decision, but women have been making that choice for thousands of years, for many good reasons ..."

Global extract ...

Planned Parenthood Federation of America • Nine Reasons Why Abortions Are Legal

  1. Laws against abortion kill women
  2. Legal abortions protect women's health
  3. A woman is more than a fetus
  4. Being a mother is just one option for women
  5. Outlawing abortion is discriminatory
  6. Compulsory pregnancy laws are incompatible with a free society
  7. Outlaw abortion, and more children will bear children
  8. "Every child a wanted child"
  9. Choice is good for families

Sources: www.pfc.org.ukPage Top

'"By empowering our women, we work for our goal of population stabilisation and, with it, promotion of human dignity." - Benazir Bhutto, Islamic Leader

Global extract ...

United Nations sponsored Conference on Population and Development • Cairo •1994

The Vatican representatives turned the first half of the conference into a debate on abortion. They were not entirely supported by Muslims, who said abortion could be allowed in some circumstances. The Catholic obstruction infuriated many women delegates, who again and again asked, 'How come one issue, one set of religious values are dominating the entire conference?' The Vatican gave in after some small verbal compromises and an agreed statement that abortion should not be used as a means of contraception. In fact the Vatican - which did not dare to push its policy of opposition to contraception - was discredited in the eyes of the world by its performance.

A major contribution to the conference came from the Islamic leader Benazir Bhutto. She accepted fully the dangers of overpopulation, a serious problem in Pakistan, and stated that: 'I dream of a Pakistan, of Asia, of a world, where every pregnancy is planned and every child conceived is nurtured, loved, educated and supported.' She acknowledged Islamic concerns by pointing out that: 'This conference must not be viewed by the teeming masses of the world as a universal social charter seeking to impose adultery, abortion, sex education and other such matters on individuals, societies and religions which have their own social ethos.'

Page TopThe Norwegian woman Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, protested that 'a vocal narrow-minded minority should not be allowed to dictate an agenda of backwardness'. She said; 'Religion should not be used to prevent women having access to family planning services.

The most remarkable aspect of the final agreed document was that it was a complete package linking population control to women's emancipation and to integrated development policies. There was an abandonment of an emphasis on 'family planning' in favour of the 'concept of reproductive health' described as 'complete physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes.

Humanist groups working in the Third World have always taken this attitude. A leading humanist social reformer, Mrs Indumati Parikh in Bombay, has for many years introduced a programme that includes education, child care, women's education, health education, as part of a complete approach. The spending on population control was agreed to be increased from $5 billion now to $17 billion by the year 2000.

A leading American liberal Jesuit theologian, Daniel Maguire, said that, "Never before in history have women been able to sit in somewhat equal positions with men to accomplish a major enterprise in ethical thinking... The call for a shift in power between the genders is the main event at this conference."

Sources: www.iheu.org

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