Human Rights Panel Discussion: Women’s Rights

(Berlin, Germany; February 12th, 2013)

The Event was organized by Peter Dudic, Laura Richardson, Ysanne Choksey, and the ICD Human Rights Team
On February 12th, 2013, members of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy had the opportunity to take part in an interactive discussion organized by the team members of the Human Rights department. In the first of a series of presentations and panel discussions focusing on human rights, Peter Dudic, Laura Richardson, and Ysanne Choksey discussed the discrimination and violence that women still face in today’s world. In the introductory lecture, they presented information about the deplorable treatment of women in certain parts of the world. The UN estimate that 2,000 sex-specific abortions are performed per day in India shocked the audience, and the general global lack of gender equality is evident in the fact that 70% of the global population who are living on less than $1 a day are women.

However, gender inequality is not only a problem in developing countries; in fact, the correlation between national prosperity and equality is far weaker than might be expected. Rwanda is the country with the highest female representation in politics, with more than half of representatives being female. The Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands have the best female representation in Europe. Perhaps surprisingly, the UK, Italy, and France have lower representation than Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan- three countries which do not have stellar records as far as human rights are concerned.

After the opening lecture, members of the ICD partook in an interactive discussion, with interns presenting their own views on the discrimination of women and the measures that can be taken to improve equality. A variety of issues were discussed, including: the reasons for which women face discrimination, the setting of quotas to increase female representation in corporations and governments, the debate as to whether a woman can pursue a successful career and be a responsible mother at the same time, and the role of religion in limiting opportunities for women.

All in all, the intern-organized event was highly informative and provided a platform for the sharing of a diverse range of opinions and beliefs.