Understanding Women’s Rights

WRC takes its position from the historical context of the Women’ Liberation Movement and much analysis over the years of structural and systemic inequality of women. We also stand by this structural analysis relating to women being oppressed as a group and refrain from current Neo- Liberal positions which focus on individual rights as we do not see this as a route to transformational change.

We therefore focus on collective and collaborative action across women’s organisations endeavouring to provide strategic advocacy, for example Fair Deal for Women focuses on the cumulative impact of austerity on women, consortium work, and intersectionality. WRC positions itself on a theory of change that is based upon the work of Patricia Hill Collins and the need to address the domains of power simultaneously. This approach acknowledges the need for work for change simultaneously across the personal, cultural; and institutional areas in order to realise transformational change.

“In addition to being structured along axes such as race, gender, and social class, the matrix of domination is structured on several levels. People experience and resist oppression on three levels: the level of personal biography; the group or community level of the cultural context created by race, class, and gender; and the systemic level of social institutions. Black feminist thought emphasizes all three levels as sites of domination and as poten….

Patricia Hill 

WRC promotes CEDAW and adopts the term ‘substantive equality’ as opposed to equality of opportunity. Equality of opportunity does not address the un-level playing field or the current societal bias towards men. Substantive equality requires an acknowledgement of the un-level playing field and remedies which address this to realise tangible change. WRC recognises the need for special measures as noted by CEDAW to achieve substantive equality such as positive discrimination so for example that all women short lists for selecting MP’s enacted by the Labour party to increase the number of women MP’s.

The women’s sector provides WRC with a wide reach which maintains our knowledge base and ensures we are kept well informed of current manifestations of structural inequality across all aspects of women’s lives.

WRC understands the difference between sex and gender- sex is biological, gender is a social construct which we believe is used to compound and maintain women’s oppression for example within the dominant ideology defining “masculinity” and “femininity” which supports gender stereotyping, e.g. girls play with dolls and wear pink, boys play with cars and wear blue. Also the sexual division of labour which sees women taking on the majority of caring roles and low paid work.