8 Examples of Human Rights That Aren’t Universal—But Should Be

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Freedom from gender discrimination

We need to understand better the terms of gender discrimination, especially in terms of the rights mentioned in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), M. Joel Voss, PhD, assistant professor at The University of Toledo Department of Political Science and Public Administration, says.

But if even a country has ratified CEDAW, that doesn’t actually mean that they eschew gender discrimination. Take Saudi Arabia, for example: They have ratified CEDAW, but the country’s male guardianship system essentially takes away all agency for women to decide their own fates.

“Human rights are concerned with human dignity and there is arguably little dignity without the ability to choose one’s own fate,” Voss explains.

“Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to do many of the things Western women take for granted including deciding on their marriage partners or when or where they would like to travel. Further, the guardianship system does not protect women from abuse within the home, which is particularly problematic since most abuse happens within homes—both in Saudi Arabia and in most other countries.”

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