Women’s Rights: Bringing Universality into the Conversation

In a recent Women in Livingness Group in London, Sara Williams shared some insights from a recent International Women’s Conference. As she was sharing these it raised a question: whilst things have changed for some women in some parts of the world, is it possible that there is nothing that has changed for women in many hundreds, if not thousands of years, that could be universally applied to all women across the globe? And if this is so, have we really gone anywhere with regard to how women are treated in our societies today?

If we look at some of the changes in history for some women in some countries they include:

  • Voting rights for women
  • Narrowing of the Gender pay gap
  • Education for women
  • Abortion rights for women

Although as yet these are not universal: they are not the same for all women in all parts of our world today.

We regularly see headlines in the professional press such as:

  • 73% of senior execs believe gender equality can be achieved by 2030 (Human Resources Online, October 2015)
  • The workplace gender gap won’t close until 2095 (Human Resources Online, October 2014)

Yet on reading them they are contradictory and we have seen headlines like this before in previous decades too. Do we actually know in truth what the ‘gender gap’ is, and what and when ‘gender equality’ will be achieved? More so – whilst we may achieve something related to gender pay parity or gender equality in some countries, as it stands this isn’t universal for all women in our world today. Particularly as every day in our media we hear of tragic stories about women around the world who are facing all manner of atrocities including:

  • human trafficking
  • sex trading
  • genocide
  • forced labour
  • forced marriage
  • female genital mutilation
  • domestic violence
  • objectification of women
  • sexual harassment at work

We also read or hear about the differences in culture and beliefs in parts of the world, and headlines pertaining to women’s rights (or lack of them) such as:

  • In Saudi Arabia women cannot go anywhere without a chaperone, drive a car, or go for a swim (The Week, 2015)

Added to the list of restrictions that women face, are further restrictions to their human rights, freedom of speech and atrocities to their human bodies that include some of the following examples:

  • Marital rape is not illegal in Lebanon
  • Women are not able to vote in Vatican city
  • In El Salvador women who suffer miscarriages or stillbirths can be jailed

(Irish Examiner, 2015)

When we read ‘Gender equality can be achieved by 2030’ – who exactly are we then talking about? Us in the corporate world? Us in the westernised world? Or women all over the world? Surely until we have dealt with the many atrocities and inequalities in the world we as yet haven’t anything that can be universally applied to all women? Wouldn’t we need to change the laws on the broader issues such as the right to vote for all women in all parts of the world before we even began to consider that we have gender equality in all of our workplaces?

It’s not that the many incremental changes in parts of the world aren’t big – because they are huge – for example in 2015, Nigeria banned Female Genital Mutilation (Topping, 2015).

But where are there any rights for women that currently extend to every single woman on this planet?

And, more so, how can we, upon whose watch this planet currently is, start the conversation to consider amongst us all what would it take to bring a more universal (worldwide, applicable for all) approach to bringing change in the way women are treated in the world?

If we did start the conversation, maybe one question to ask is whether there is another way to go about making change for women. A way where it is not first and foremost about fighting for rights, or comparing ourselves to what men can and can’t do, but where we as women start to consider why the world is as it is today.

Why is it that despite the many marches, demonstrations, petitions, activists, movements, and media or stories, we haven’t as yet even begun to bring about change to the way women are in the world universally – with changes for all?

There is much to consider here for women, and for us all – including the way we are all living our daily lives wherever we live in the world. Isn’t it time to start the conversation? Starting it universally, and contemplating together as women, tapping deeply into our inner knowing about how a true woman could live in our world today, one who knows who she is, who cherishes and adores herself, who feels at ease with her true sexiness and beauty, who feels contented from within and is not reliant upon images or roles to complete her. And as Serge Benhayon, modern day philosopher says;

“We must free the woman to allow her to truly be in every way so that we can benefit from her living stillness and her natural nurturing ways”

(Serge Benhayon 2011)  

If we take the time to deeply understand how far away we have been living from the true tender, delicate, sacred women that deep down we all naturally are, we can begin to realise that there is a truth for all women that has yet to be a universal way of living… one that can be applied to all women equally so, no matter where they are in our world today. A truth that when lived once again not only benefits the woman for herself, but benefits all.

By Jane, UK

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The Woman by Shannon Everest

References:
1) Human Resources Online; 73% of senior execs believe gender equality can be achieved by 2030; October 2015
2) Human Resources Online; The workplace gender gap won’t close until 2095; October 2014
3) Irish Examiner; 7 shocking restrictions on women’s rights around the world; Irish Examiner March 8th 2015
4) The Week; Eleven things women in Saudi Arabia cannot do; August 2015
5) Topping, A; Nigeria’s female genital mutilation ban is important precedent, say campaigners; The Guardian 29 May 2015
6) Benhayon, S (2011) Esoteric Teachings and Revelations: a new study for mankind pp 522; Unimed Publishing

557 thoughts on “Women’s Rights: Bringing Universality into the Conversation

  1. We know about all the abuses and inequalities of the world, and we should certainly be aware of these, but we know nothing about the true qualities of women, the preciousness, nurturing, sacredness, the stillness, and the wisdom she holds as a Universal being – this to me is part of the reason we have the issues affecting women worldwide.

  2. In the past, we have spoken out in reaction, defiance or emotion, but we are offered the true way to speak out here, by living and moving as women in our full essence , never accepting an ounce of abuse in our lives.

  3. Jane I love your expose on this, its only when we see the mess for what it really is that we have the opportunity to truly change it.

  4. Looking at women in the world today shows just how far we are from the delicate yet powerful people we naturally are. There are few women who are role models in this sense – and I have a responsibility as a woman to explore this within myself.

  5. Seeing how so many women are still being mistreated in certain area of our world is a big wake up call to all us women to check in and see where we might be mistreating ourselves. For every time we dishonour ourselves in any way, we are adding to the energy pool which feeds the global ill treatment of women.

    1. and there is a sense of fate or inevitability at times – even with our reactions to what is going on, rather than realising the way we are living as women (and all of us) is not true, and there is another way.

    2. This is a great point Elizabeth….if we were all to continually deepen the love and respect we have for ourselves and each other could there be a massive shift in consciousness that would bring about significant change? Energetically it would seem so.

  6. I recently watched a video clip of footage of women who were being kidnapped to be brides. This was happening within their own culture, and in the footage the other women of the families they were brought to were consoling them, telling them that they too were stolen from their families and that they will get used to it, to their new life. I can’t image how horrific it must be to experience this, but what’s more, is the fact that this is a cultural norm. Not to judge or blame here, but just to ask – why? Why is this still happening in the age of technology and high living in some areas of the world, why has the quality of life not been raised equally across the globe for everyone, why is there such discrepancies of what I would call: basic human standards?

    1. Great point Shami – to be asking why things are the way they are, and why it is that on one level we accept some things as normal because they are cultural or religious or custom and practice – yet, there is another way. And every time one of us says ‘no’ to even the subtlest of abuse – even by our own hand e.g. when we don’t eat well or we don’t go to bed when our body needs us then that ‘no’ has a ripple effect for us all to say ‘no’ – wherever we are in life.

  7. There’s much that we can honour and activate in our daily way of living that will support women worldwide, re-connecting with our body and innate wisdom and bringing this to life, for the benefit of all.

  8. Thank you for this great wake call that whilst there are still so many women suffering all kinds of abuse around the world we need to keep calling out this abuse in whatever forms we see and continue doing this until all women are free to share their sacredness without fear.

    1. Yes, again today there were more articles in the news of what has been and still is happening to women in parts of the world, an utter disgrace and horror, all abuse has to be stopped.

  9. “Why is it that despite the many marches, demonstrations, petitions, activists, movements, and media or stories, we haven’t as yet even begun to bring about change to the way women are in the world universally – with changes for all?” It seems that once we get the change we want in our lives we forget that this change has not been for all, but we are so exhausted from the effort it took for that small ‘win’ we need a rest, and so we take some time off and sink into the comfort of the new world we have just fought for and slowly we forget that the job wasn’t done and there are others who do not have what we have just started to take as our normal.

    1. great point – and I completely understand why women feel to come together and rally or march etc as often our lone voices are not heard. If we as best we can take stock in our own lives and look at even the smallest details of what can be done in the way we are living we may find that that in itself is our voice – and maybe actions speak louder than words – not as in any old action but in learning to live in a way that supports and nurtures us the best we can.

  10. We are a global family and we can’t be complacent just because things may be better for us in some ways – there is always more we can look deeper with in terms of how we live our life and the impact this has on everyone.

    1. Yes and I cannot help but consider the intention and therefore the energy we approach ‘the issue’. If we want to make things better then I suspect we will always have this inequality. If we want to peel back all the layers and rebuild from scratch then that would be equality for all not just pockets of the world. Considering the ‘all’ approach we have to put the ‘self’ approach aside.

    2. And somewhere deep inside we feel the unsettlement that our brothers and sisters – others in the world, are suffering atrocities etc – so whilst we may take the view that its not in my own life, we do feel it when others lives are affected.

  11. How can we put a time limit on when gender equality will be achieved when we are living in a way that actually complies with inequality? Even in the western world – and the way women can sometimes turn a blind eye to abuse, don’t speak up or even accept the way women are portrayed in advertising and entertainment. This all feeds into a bigger pot of inequality that we’re saying we are OK with. As a woman, I can feel the responsibility I have to see all other women equally as a starting point for equality as a humanity.

    1. Ive realised something about inequality and equality recently from something presented by modern day philosopher Serge Benhayon. One of the things that can be in the way of our evolution is our constant need to seek individuality. And whilst there is more that can be said about that, the focus here in this comment is that what Serge presents is that we resist equality (which is naturally who we are – equal) because there is no individuality in equality – only when we have inequality can we perpetuate attention seeking and have issues. So it may take a while before we choose to truly work on equality. For now there are many atrocities for women (and men) in the world that we can also understand more, and begin to turn things around by the way each of us lives in the world, and the relationships we have with ourselves and others.

  12. Thank you for reminding us of how atrocious it still is for women in some parts of the world, ‘Why is it that despite the many marches, demonstrations, petitions, activists, movements, and media or stories, we haven’t as yet even begun to bring about change to the way women are in the world universally – with changes for all?’

  13. Bringing it back to ourselves, how do we nurture and deepen our own relationship with our innate tenderness and how is this reflected in the quality of our movements through life.

  14. It is up to us to nurture our inner stillness and deepen our natural nurturing ways. In this we find a power and authority. If we stay steady and consistent in this, like water to a stone, we will wear away the layers of hardness and cruelty and man’s inhumanity to man.

  15. How shocking that outdated and archaic systems are still geared to diminish women and hold them accountable for natural events in life.
    “In El Salvador women who suffer miscarriages or stillbirths can be jailed”

    1. Agree. In some ways we have connection throughout the world and can see/know what is going on in other countries, and yet we can be blind in regards to what we do in our own countries or cities or communities in regards to why we still do something so archaic and atrocious – when the rest of the world doesn’t do it.

  16. As I address my lack of self worth with acceptance and appreciation of what I bring as a women in this world who is learning to come back to and live from my stillness and sacredness, the ripple effect becomes a reflection to all women across the globe.

  17. It is easy to think that women’s rights and gender equality means the same as what it means for our personal situation the world over. Whereas there is a vast difference between my first world concerns and things such as genital mutilation, childhood arranged marriages etc. The way we have been going about trying to get gender equality doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to create real and lasting change or get to the root of these issues for women the world over. We need to look at the energetic causes behind why there is inequality, and each of the genders take responsibility for their part in creating and maintaining the separation and abuse.

    1. Great comment Fiona “It is easy to think that women’s rights and gender equality means the same as what it means for our personal situation the world over.” which shows that we can be insular in what is going with us, and those around us without the consideration of the whole/all of us. I do feel nowadays with social media we can see what is going on around the world if we choose to. The other point for me is why is it that the world is like this – and that we have so many issues e.g. in regards to women and equality etc as you say.

  18. Having the bigger picture in mind as we discuss what is happening here on our own land feels important when it comes gender equality. Because whatever happens here will be what is being contributed to the greater whole that we are all a part of, and so surely this must mean that anyone who has the power to make changes should really consider doing so to their very highest standards, so that in some way, be it directly or by reflection, every woman does have access to what is the greatest that is possible.

  19. It seems like we have lost the way in what is our true power is as women, and fallen into the mis-notion that we need to compete with men and do things in the same manner.

  20. When we stop to consider that changes can begin when we are making steps within our own lives we can feel that the grandness of what is on offer. Living more and asking more quality brings about change – that can be subtle yet just as powerful in shifting the long term patterns of abuse we can all see as the norm but are they truly support all?

  21. Unfortuanlty in the business world there is a notion to be equal to a man we need to be in competition with them and fight them at there own game – but this could not be further from the truth as women we have so much to offer just being us there is never no need to compete but instead let the women’s inner power to simply present everything that is needed.

  22. “There is much to consider here for women, and for us all – including the way we are all living our daily lives wherever we live in the world. Isn’t it time to start the conversation? ” Absolutely, when we start to consider that how we live our lives has an affect on the rest of the world….if we accept abuse as being the ‘norm’ and part of everyday life then this will continue in the world today. We think we can sit in our armchair and hope the world will change without seeing our responsibility and the changes we can make within our own lives. It is time to start the conversation it is long over due and it is definitely a conversation worth having.

    1. and we disempower ourselves by not choosing to feel that true change starts with us, with all of us and what may seem to be the smallest of changes we make has a ripple effect more than we realise.

      1. Yes we can’t imagine that one small change in us can have a ripple affect that reaches far and wide. It is something I am just beginning to appreciate. The illusion is we think we have to wave a banner or shout and demand change but the change within ourselves can change the world…all we have to do is start appreciating the fact that this is possible.

  23. This blog is always a good reality check for me. When I read what is going on in the world for women it is clear that structural things like being able to vote have changed for some women, but there is a lot happening that is still as barbaric as times past (if not worse as we are supposed to know better now). I feel it is not so much about fighting for women’s rights but bringing focus to all our relationships, especially the way we treat ourselves and the way we treat each other.

    1. I agree Fiona. Recently I was at a forum which was mostly women and they were gathered on an initiative to get more women into public life. I agree that more women in public life would be amazing – particularly if there are women who would love to be in public life, e.g. working in Councils, or Parliament etc. What I found unsettling was that in the room there was a sense of comparison, jealousy, and ‘eyeing up’ amongst some of the women, and, some of the women felt highly competitive. For me this left the room feeling cold, empty, and tense, yet, when I looked around the room the potential in the room was amazing. Every woman there had something to bring to the table. There is room for us all, and the only way we will make change is absolutely when we deepen our relationship with ourselves and know what it is to truly live in a woman’s body in full, and, when we come together in truth as women (and all of us), in true support of one another knowing everyone of us is needed.

  24. There is a call for all women to recognise the power that they hold within in their vulnerability and sacredness and to express and move with the confidence of knowing who they are without comparison or competition so that all women and men reconnect to the equalness of all.

    1. Yes it is only when we can let go of comparison and competition that we can start to live true to ourselves and in the equality of all that is our birthright.

  25. I was in a very precious opportunity yesterday, to be at a business meeting with both men and women, and before the meeting I already felt some magnified control from the men in my household. I observed, commented about this and stood firm when it kept coming. When I was at the meeting with the male client, I observed that I wanted to express feeling less from a similar pressure felt, but I held myself steadily. I know the reflection of this was giving me a precious opportunity to learn and heal. There were so many thoughts going through me of I wouldn’t be liked and I wouldn’t get this job if I do not play the game of being less in a meeting with a male client, but I didn’t buy into them, didn’t manipulate, didn’t stimulate or excite, just went through my presentation feeling all the vulnerabilities going through my body. I appreciate all the learning of understanding what it means to be a woman in the business scene, where pictures are no longer valid, but it is through how I am feeling every step of the way, and honoring all of it.

    1. Super story diningwithoneandwithlove – and a great example of how it is up to us in each and every opportunity to hold steady, feeling our fragility, the raw honesty, being aware – which is actually our greatest strength – as in that rawness, that awareness, that fragility we can feel what is at play and discern our movements.

  26. As women we cannot demand change. To be aware of what is truly going on in the world is a good thing as it stirs us up and makes us feel uncomfortable. We know we play a part in it all and know that by taking responsibility and deepening the love in our relationship to ourselves and towards others is the way to bring and offer love sending ripples of love to every woman in the world.

  27. How willing are we to have this conversation though? I am astounded at how unwilling we are and have started to consider if it is because we know we are the change and we are afraid if yet another thing on our list of to-dos. We are exhausted and don’t see it as turning around and deepening the relationship with ourselves, it is a chore and it is likely to take a long time and time, well we don’t have enough of that already!

  28. What Serge Benhayon has presented is that it is not about the things women fight for – but about how we are in ourselves. How we surrender. How we celebrate and appreciate each other. And we have to look at how women are with other women -are we truly tender and equal and supportive or do we let jealousy and comparison drive us? There is certainly an opportunity for women to develop these relationships.

  29. Today is the 100 year celebration of Votes for women in England – and there are many celebratory events in relation to this. And whilst this is great – there are many things that have not changed for women, or have not changed for all women world wide. Every bit of progress is needed, but unless we look at the root cause as to why it is this way? why do we not treat one another humanely, with care and responsibility we will still be putting in solutions and looking at isolated aspects rather than looking at the bigger picture of what is going on here.

    1. You make some great points here Jane both in your article and in this comment. The sacredness of a woman is to be found in our very essence and it is this essence that we as women need to connect to and live from. And I agree this conversation needs to start with us for if we allow ourselves to be impulsed from our inner knowing rather than what we think we ought to be doing we will change the way we move, talk, work and interact with others and this will change everything.

  30. “If we take the time to deeply understand how far away we have been living from the true tender, delicate, sacred women that deep down we all naturally are, we can begin to realise that there is a truth for all women that has yet to be a universal way of living… one that can be applied to all women equally so, no matter where they are in our world today.” Yes and when we consider this we can see how even if in the whole world the pay for men and women is the same there can still be an inequality. So it is about the quality we live first, to claim for ourselves what we feel all women deserve to live like and starting with ourselves.

    1. Yes Lieke – it is that simple too – how different all the activism about womens rights would be if that was the way we were – that we started with ourselves, and the way we are living, taking a deeper responsibility and not accepting abuse.

  31. We really have lived so far from our true essence that in order to call out the abuse we see in the world, we have to allow ourselves to feel how far we have moved away from living that in our own lives. How often do we feel powerless to change what we see, read and feel are atrocities in the world? yet what if they come from the way we are living in our own homes closing the door to seeing the small levels of abuse that then mean we don’t speak up. What happens to the not speaking up over years and then generations, lifetimes? I see now perhaps how we get the world we are living in. But if that is how we got here then the way to go back is to change the source of the ‘not speaking up’ and the choice not to value, appreciate and cherish who we are and what we bring.

    1. Well said Lucy – “How often do we feel powerless to change what we see, read and feel are atrocities in the world? yet what if they come from the way we are living in our own homes closing the door to seeing the small levels of abuse that then mean we don’t speak up”. Change starts with us – not needing to chain ourselves to the railings, or become an extreme activist – but to start to look at the way we are living lovingly so, and make small changes in our lives – that is the beginning of everything else.

      1. It feels so empowering to know our movements in our lives, homes and day to day – movements we consider are only for ourselves can have that potential ripple effect. Humbling and empowering.

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