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Animal rights
Children's rights
Collective rights
Client rights
Civil rights
Equal rights
Fathers' rights
Gay and Lesbian Rights
Group rights
Human rights
Inalienable rights
Individual rights
Legal rights
Men's rights
Natural right
Negative & positive
Reproductive rights
Social rights
"Three generations"
Women's rights
Workers' rights
Youth rights

The term women’s rights typically refers to freedoms inherently possessed by women and girls of all ages, which may be institutionalized or ignored and/or illegitimately suppressed by law or custom in a particular society. These liberties are grouped together and differentiated from broader notions of human rights because they often differ from the freedoms inherently possessed by and/or recognized for men and boys, and because activism surrounding this issue claims an inherent historical and traditional bias against the exercise of rights by women.

Feminism and most modern sociological theory maintain that the differences between men and women are, at least in part, socially constructed 'differences' , (i.e. determined through history by specific human groups), rather than biologically determined, immutable conditions. See articles about women, the term some feminists see as a "gender unbiased term."

Issues commonly associated with notions of women's rights include, though are not limited to:

  • The right to bodily integrity and autonomy,
  • The right to vote,
  • The right to hold public office,
  • The right to work,
  • The right to fair wages,
  • The right to own property,
  • The right to education,
  • Marital rights,
  • Parental rights,
  • Religious rights,
  • The right to serve in the military, and
  • The right to enter into legal contracts.

Notable women’s rights activists[]

  • Guru Nanak (1469-1539) The founder of Sikhism is believed to the first male leader to promote equal rights for Women.
  • Sor Juana (c. 1651-1695) - Mexican nun, scholar, and proponent of women’s education
  • Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) - author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women, advocate of women’s equality and rationality
  • Táhirih (?-1852) - Bábí poet, theologian, and proponent of women's rights in 19th-century Iran.
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) - American social activist, abolitionist, and suffragette, organizer of the 1848 Women's Rights Convention, co-founder of the National Woman's Suffrage Association and the International Council of Women
  • Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) - American civil rights leader and suffragette, co-founder of the National Woman's Suffrage Association, tried for casting a vote in the 1872 presidential election
  • Jyotiba Phule (1827-1890) - Indian social reformer, critic of the caste system, founded a school for girls, a widow-remarriage initiative, a home for upper caste widows, and a home for infant girls to discourage female infanticide
  • Marianne Hainisch (1839-1936) - Austrian activist, proponent of women’s right to work and to receive education
  • Kate Sheppard (1847-1934) - New Zealand suffragette, influential in winning voting rights for women in 1893 (the first national election in which women were allowed to vote)
  • Emmeline Pankhurst (1858 – 1928) was one of the founders of the British suffragette movement
  • Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) - American civil rights and anti-lynching activist, suffragette noted for her refusal to avoid media attention because she was African American
  • Qasim Amin (1863-1908) - Egyptian jurist, early advocate of women’s rights in Islamic society
  • Raden Adjeng Kartini (1879-1904) - Javanese advocate for native Indonesian women, critic of polygamous marriages and lack of education opportunities for women
  • Hoda Shaarawi (1879-1947) - Egyptian feminist, organizer for the Mubarrat Muhammad Ali (women’s social service organization), the Union of Educated Egyption Women and the Wafdist Women’s Central Committee, founder and first president of the Egyptian Feminist Union
  • Dora Russell (1894-1986) - British progressive campaigner, advocate of marriage reform, birth control and female emancipation
  • Begum Ra'ana Liaquat Ali Khan (1905-1990) - Indian - Pakistani activist, founder of the All Pakistan Women’s Association, organizer of women’s nursing and first aid corps to help refugees in Delhi despite public resistance to women working outside the home
  • Susan Fauer (1941 –) was one of the founders of the Women's Free Trade Movement
  • Shirin Ebadi (1947-) On December 10, 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially for the rights of women and children.
  • Unity Dow (born 1959) - judge and writer from Botswana, plaintiff in a case that allowed children of Motswana women and foreign men to be considered Batswana.
  • Nawal el-Saadawi (born 1931) - Egyptian writer and doctor, advocate for women’s health and equality
  • Carolyn Egan (birthdate unknown) - Canadian-American trade unionist and feminist, advocate for women’s reproductive rights, including access to birth control, abortion, and sex education
  • Shamima Shaikh (1960-1998) - South African activist, member of the Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa, proponent of Islamic gender equality

See also[]

  • Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)
  • Feminism - the core ideology behind women's rights
  • International Women's Rights Action Watch (IWRAW)
  • International Women's Day
  • Legal rights of women in history
  • Reproductive rights - within "women's rights," issues

regarding "reproductive freedom"

  • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
  • List of suffragists and suffragettes
  • List of democracy and elections-related topics
  • suffragette
  • League of Women Voters
  • National Woman's Suffrage Association
  • Seneca Falls Convention, Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments
  • The New Northwest
  • Women in the Victorian Era
  • Women in Sikhism
  • Women's political rights in Bahrain
  • Section Twenty-eight of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Women's suffrage in South Carolina
  • Women's suffrage
  • Women in Islam
  • Teaching for social justice

External links[]


es:Derechos de la mujer
fr:Droits des femmes
pt:Direitos da Mulher
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