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“Women’s Rights are Human Rights”: Poems

A poetic expression of how women’s rights are essential to a thriving nation

Published onApr 11, 2022
“Women’s Rights are Human Rights”: Poems

The Beijing Declaration

During the 1990s, feminism was dedicated to obtaining gender equality and social justice for women [1]. The last in a series of four meetings focused on various aspects of female achievement and gender equality, the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing was aimed at taking steps towards long-awaited international gender equality. This conference led to the creation of The Beijing Declaration and The Platform for Action; international policy documents intended to forward the agenda of women’s empowerment globally, affirming that women’s rights are human rights [2]. The documents set various objectives for gender equality under twelve different umbrellas of international concern. One hundred and eighty-nine countries committed to advancing gender equality in the vital areas, some of which include the education and training of women, women in the economy, women in poverty, the health of women, violence towards women, women in power, and the human rights of women.

Then-First Lady of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton gave a powerful speech urging decision-makers from all over the world to realize the unfathomable improvements that would occur if women were to attain equal rights to men [3]. In the speech, Clinton centers around the idea that people need to understand that women need to have equal rights, opportunities, and protections if nations are to thrive. The speech details steps taken towards bringing women more opportunities in many different aspects of life, such as education, health, credit, and in protection.

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's Remarks to the Fourth Women's Conference in Beijing, China

Even twenty-six years later, women are still facing the same issues of inequality, struggling every day to make headway in the battle for equality in human rights. The following poems, written by me, use direct quotes and concepts from Clinton’s speech. Each concept illustrates a different aspect of the ongoing struggle for gender equality.

“We come together”

We must make change

And we are stronger together

We can’t do this alone

Nothing moves on its own

We must come together

Standing together

Taking to the streets

Shouting, singing, screaming

Maybe they will hear

If we come together

We can make change


We contribute

As mothers in the home

As workers on the job

As actors in the community

As mentors

As wives, sisters, and daughters

As citizens and as leaders

We contribute

A woman belongs everywhere

In power

In the oval office

In society

In the revolution

We contribute

A woman belongs everywhere

We will not be confined

We will not be controlled

We will not be denied

We are everywhere

And we will not be stopped

“Let them listen”

When we shout, let them listen

When we cry for help, let them listen

As we match, let them listen

As we climb, let them listen

When we vote, let them listen

When the class shatters, let them listen

We are louder than ever before, they are listening

We must keep pushing, and they will listen

When we shout, they will listen

“Women matter”

Invest in women

Because women matter

To politics

To the economy

Invest in women

Because women matter

We buy your food

We care for your child

Invest in women

Because women matter

We need education

We need equal pay

We need fair treatment

We need to feel safe

Invest in women

Because women matter

We can change the world for the better

But only if they let us


Stop the violence

Put an end to the abuse

What do you think women owe you?

Stop the trafficking

Don’t leave another bruise

We have never been objects

What do you think women owe you?

We owe you nothing

Excepting maybe a broken arm

Or a slap with a shoe

“When women flourish”

When a home is safe, women flourish

When women flourish, families are strong

When a family is healthy, communities flourish

When communities flourish, cities are strong

When cities are stable, nations flourish

If a woman is healthy

She has untapped potential for change

If a woman can work and contribute

She has boundless influence

If a woman is educated

She can make infinite important contributions

If a woman is free from violence

She will not cower in the face of adversity

When we have self-autonomy

When we are healthy

When we have education

When we are equal

The world will thrive

About the Author

Edie Bradshaw is a second-year student at Wake Forest University. She is from Asheville, North Carolina, and is a Politics and International Studies major with a double minor in Spanish and Sociology.

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