Women’s rights should not be determined by politics, religious doctrine or even social laws. These rights need to be guaranteed as human rights.

The real concern is that the world needs to acknowledge the right for all women to become accepted as essential citizens in a global society. It’s about the right to be contributors to the betterment of the world. In a world that recognizes that everyone has a contribution to make so they can promote the well-being and survival of all human beings, this cannot be denied. And yet, in the name of politics, religion and social norms that is a battle that is still at the surface of every woman’s existence on earth.

When women are denied the ability to represent themselves as individuals worthy of recognition because they are forced to remain hidden, their potentials are far too often cut short. When they are locked in kitchens and allocated roles solely of domesticity, they are often not given opportunities to develop in other ways. That is not meant to confuse the issue by demeaning women who chose to shine in their domesticity or who find individual needs met by wearing garb that is traditional, feels protective of their physical needs or that values their religious beliefs. Those are rights also. But those can be hindrances to participation and should not be forced on the gender as a whole. Still, women are really amazing. Many of them are able to shine in spite of what others find limiting. To them it is just part of life. They were born to excel so they succeed.

When reproductive health is blurred by discussions over the right to an abortion, women suffer both physically and mentally. Too many women who have been lost in eras where rights to proper medical advice were not available have lost their right to survive. Back alley abortions, forced removal of infants, forced to carry foetuses that are not viable all have dangerous consequences that have created lifelong trauma and sometimes untimely death. Reproductive health that gives doctors and patients (both women and men) opportunities to explore options for the best possible care is a medical issue, not a political or religious issue. It should not be governed by arbitrary laws made by those in power whose agendas do not include securing the rights of women.

When women are denied access to education, information that can lead to future progress, the world loses the potential contributions that they can make to science, to health care, to business and to the security of a thriving world civilization.

Instead of focusing on head scarves, the real issue is the right to be recognized.  Instead of focusing on abortion rights, the real issue is reproductive health. Recognizing that denial of access to education is a way of silencing women and keeping them hidden, keeping them ignorant of their own potential, is abusive.

Women are so much more when they are given their right to participate fully in society.

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