AbstractsWomens Studies

The Universality of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through a Feminist Perspective

by Raquel Alvarez Rodriguez

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Human Rights; Feminism; Women's Rights; Universality
Record ID: 1120492
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/23272


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has major influence on legislation in several countries today, and it is the main document for articulating the most broadly accepted perception of human rights. Therefore it is important that this document in actuality embodies the claimed inherence of universality, as to ensure equality for all human beings. When taking a critical approach to the document, it can be questioned to what extent the discourse of the document actually does epitomize equality in regards to gender. This has been analysed through a feminist lens supported by Foucauldian discourse analysis and social constructivism. The language in the document uses male-generic pronouns, and women are only mentioned in relation to marriage and children. This portrayal of women uphold an archaic idea of gender roles and keep women in the margin of the document, thus implying women to be of less importance in human rights. This is where we argue that a gender imbalance of this declaration is evident.