WLA 68 Statute on the Rights of Women

Bill for an act:

World Legislative Act Number 68

Statute on the Rights of Women

PREAMBLE

WHEREAS, the Constitution for the Federation of Earth was designed to protect the inalienable rights of all people, promote unity in diversity, and achieve gender equality; and 

WHEREAS, women remain in a state of second-class citizenship in much of the world, despite the progress made in some democratic nations on the issue of gender equality; and 

WHEREAS, the inherent dignity, innate rights, personal sovereignty, and physical safety of women and girls has yet to be attained in many nations of the world; and 

WHEREAS, the sanctity of the mother-child relationship is often violated in nations which give legal and cultural preference to the rights of men; and

WHEREAS, the rights of women are key to establishing universal human rights. 

WE, the Delegates of the Fifteenth Session of the Provisional World Parliament, do hereby enact the following Statute on the Rights of Women: 

ARTICLE 1: Definitions

1.1      Women are defined as adult female members of the human family, including persons identified as female at birth, persons who undergo female gender change surgery, and persons who self-identify as female. Girls are defined as females under the age of eighteen.

1.2      Children’s Rights are defined as set forth in WLA 27, which generally guarantees all children safe guardianship, healthcare, education, a minimum standard of living, and freedom of thought, expression, and assembly.

1.3      Education is defined as set forth in WLA 26, which generally guarantees all children the right to an education and addresses the discrimination and deficiencies in the education of female students in parts of the world.  

1.4      Human Trafficking is defined as set forth in WLA 43, which generally prohibits the trafficking of all persons, especially women and girls, via transport, kidnapping, deception, recruitment, and coercion for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor.

ARTICLE 2: Status of Women 

2.1       Gender equality has yet to be achieved around the world. Women and girls are routinely discriminated against and lack innate personal freedoms due to patriarchal religious traditions, misogynist customs, sexist laws, and institutional/structural barriers. The United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Commission on the Status of Women 2021 Agreed Conclusions contains a dire summary of the current status of women, and those conclusions are incorporated herein by reference. 

2.2       Women commonly experience the following limitations on their Freedom:

2.2.1    Women and girls are forced into marriage against their will. Even where laws exist to prohibit forced marriage, those laws are often ignored or unenforced.

               2.2.2    Women are denied access to family planning services and birth control.

2.2.3    Women are often forced to carry a pregnancy to term, even in the case of rape or incest.

2.2.4    In cultures where women are still viewed as the property of male family members, women are forced to obey and be subservient to male members of the family.

2.3       Women commonly experience the following limitations on their Civil Rights:

2.3.1    Although a women’s right to an education exists in most countries, they may be denied the same level of education as males. In some cultures, women and girls are threatened with violence if they attend school.

2.3.2    Although a women’s right to vote exists in most countries, they often are threatened with violence if they do vote.

2.3.3    Women have yet to be full participants in the public sphere. They do not hold a proportionate share of the positions of authority in government and the judiciary. They also are underrepresented in legislatures.

2.3.4    In cultures where women are still viewed as the property of male family members, women lack the right to own property, to divorce, or obtain custody of children. 

2.4       Women commonly experience the following limitations on their Economic Rights:

            2.4.1    Women have yet to be full participants in the private business sphere. They do not hold a proportionate share of the positions of leadership and authority. They also own and manage fewer companies.

2.4.2    Women are routinely paid less than men and do not advance in their careers at the same rate as men.

               2.4.3   Women often suffer sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. The recent

“Me Too” movement helped expose this rampant problem.

2.4.4    Employment benefits rarely accommodate the birth of a child. Unpaid family leave forces women to quickly return to work, depriving both mother and child of the time needed to become physically healthy, emotionally bond, and prosper.

   2.4.5    Women disproportionately take on the role of caregiver to children and elder parents, which adds to the income disparity between men and women.

2.4.6    As a result of these and other economic injustices, more women live in poverty than men.

2.5     Women commonly experience the following violations of their Sovereignty and Security: 

2.5.1    Gender-based abuse is the world’s most prevalent form of human rights violation, and domestic violence is the most common form of gender abuse. The World Health Organization 2021 Violence Against Women Fact Sheet estimates that one in three women suffers abuse (including rape and death), at the hands of a domestic partner. Likely, this statistic is low due to lack of reporting.

2.5.2    Girls suffer along with their mothers. The UNICEF 2020 Global Status Report on Violence Against Children states that one in two children is violently and/or sexually attacked before reaching adulthood. The World Health Organization 2020 Violence Against Children Fact Sheet estimates that over one billion children are physically or sexually abused. In the United States, statistics show that one in four girls is sexually abused, usually by someone they know and often by a family member. Likely, these statistics are low due to lack of reporting.

2.5.3    In some cultures, women and girls are forced to suffer the horror of genital mutilation. Even where laws exist to prohibit genital mutilation, those laws are often ignored or unenforced.

2.5.4    Throughout history, rape has been used as a weapon of war, particularly during ethnic and religious conflicts. Today, rape continues as a form of psychological warfare that violates women and literally spreads the seed of the attacking force.

2.5.6    The murder of women and female infanticide is a growing problem worldwide. This category of abuse includes honor killings and the preference for boy babies in certain cultures.

ARTICLE 3: Women’s Rights

3.1       Women’s Rights are the very foundation of human rights, since the human family cannot progress absent the full equality of women. The Earth Constitution was designed to protect the rights of all people and it is based on the core belief that unity in diversity is required in order to build an equitable and just world. Women’s Rights include all rights guaranteed under the Earth Constitution and in World Legislative Acts.

3.2       In the realm of Freedom, Women’s Rights also include:

               3.2.1    The unfettered right to self-determination in all matters.

               3.2.2    The right to own and inherit property.

3.2.3    The right to choose (and to not choose) a partner or spouse. In the event a woman or child is forced to marry, she has the unilateral right to annul the marriage.

3.2.4    The right of safe and easy access to birth control, which to be provided for free as a basic healthcare right. 

3.2.5    The right of absolute bodily autonomy when determining whether to continue or abort a pregnancy, which woman and girls have the unilateral right to decide during the first six months of a pregnancy.

3.3       In the realm of Civil Rights, Women’s Rights also include:

               3.3.1    The right to safely attend school.

               3.3.2    The right to safely vote.

               3.3.3    The right to safely run for elected office.

               3.3.4    The right to be a member of the judiciary.

3.4       In the realm of Economic Rights, Women’s Rights also include:

               3.4.1    The right to safely pursue any career goal.

               3.4.2    The right to work in a safe environment free from sexual harassment or abuse.

               3.4.3    The right to receive equal pay for equal work.

3.4.4    The right to paid family leave after the birth of child or to care for a parent, the amount and duration of which will be determined by the Commission on Women’s Rights established in Article 5 of this statute. 

3.4.5    The right to paid emergency leave to care for a sick child or parent, the amount and duration of which will be determined by the Commission on Women’s Rights established in Article 5 of this statute.

3.5       In the realm of Sovereignty and Security, Women’s Rights also include:

               3.5.1    The right to be physically safe and secure at all times. 

3.5.2    The right to easily obtain restraining orders issued by an Earth Federation Agency tasked with protecting women against violent domestic partners.

3.5.3    The right to easily obtain sole custody of children who are physically or sexually abused by domestic partners.

3.5.4    If the victim of physical or sexual assault, a woman has the right to receive free mental health services and financial assistance. She also has the right to consult with an Ombudsman in advance of any hearing or trial related to the assault, and the right to provide a victim impact statement to the court. 

ARTICLE 4: Advancement and Enforcement of Women’s Rights

4.1       All Earth Federation agencies will consider Women’s Rights a paramount goal and include Women’s Rights as a separate objective when seeking unity in diversity. 

4.2       To lessen and eventually eliminate the power differential between men and women, the various elected bodies of the Earth Constitution – the Presidium, House of Nations, House of Peoples, and House of Counsellors – will strive to identify and nominate qualified women representatives. Earth Federation agencies also will strive to identify and appoint qualified women for leadership positions.

4.3       The Enforcement System under the Earth Constitution will take positive steps to protect and enforce Women’s Rights.

4.4       The Earth Federation shall provide, beginning immediate redress to women and girls for any violation of the rights enumerated and referenced by this statute. The World Ombudsmus shall take positive steps to prioritize the defense of any woman whose rights have been violated and to prosecute any violation of those rights. In all cases of physical or sexual assault against a woman, the Office of the Ombudsmus shall assist the victim in seeking restitution for the injuries she sustained.  

4.5       Earth Federation courts and agencies shall give due weight to the views of the mother and child when dealing with custody conflicts.

4.6       Women and girls who are victims of trafficking, have the right to receive long-term care, including access to healthcare, social services, and education. Earth Federation and member states shall provide services regardless of whether the victims are nationals or residents of the country in which they find themselves. The World Bench for Juvenile Cases shall facilitate the return of trafficked girls to their country of origin or appropriate foster care. 

ARTICLE 5: Commission on Women’s Rights

5.1       The Provisional World Parliament hereby forms a Commission on Women’s Rights to be composed of members from around the world. The Commission’s mailing address is the Peace Pentagon in Independence, Virginia, where the Earth Constitution Institute is headquartered.

5.2       The WCPA Women’s Forum in India may constitute the initial Commission on Women’s Rights and play a central role in furthering the work of the Commission.

5.3       The Commission on Women’s Rights shall study and adopt policies and programs that educate the public on the status of women.

5.4       The Commission on Women’s Rights shall research and update statistics on the abuse of women, sexual abuse of children, and the trafficking of women and girls.

5.5       The Commission on Women’s Rights may encourage international and interfaith events, such as a “Global Mother’s Day” and a “Peace Congress of Women,” as suggested in the Mother’s Day Proclamation composed in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe.

5.6       The Commission on Women’s Rights shall report its deliberations and findings to upcoming sessions of the World Parliament and adjunct agencies of the Earth Federation. 

*****

Respectfully submitted by Rev. Laura George, J.D., Director of the Earth Constitution Institute, Trustee of the World Constitutional and Parliament Association, and Member of the WCPAWomen’s Forum Considered on _______________, by the 15th Session of the Provisional World Parliament

Adopted on _________________, by the 15th Session of the Provisional World Parliament 

Attested, Eugenia Almand, J.D., Parliament Secretary