Feminist-ing wikipedia!

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

10 Dec: International Human Rights Day

December 10, the final day
of the 16-day activism against gender-based violence, falls
on the International Human Rights Day.

Do you know your basic human rights? If
you don't, it's a good time to start. These are some of
the most useful guarantees you (should) have in civil society.
The only way to actually have them in action is by knowing
what they are, and claiming for it!

Here's a brief summary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights
:

1) Everyone is born free and equal

2) Everyone is entitled to human rights without distinction
or discrimination

3) Everyone has the right to life, freedom and security

4) No one should be subjected to slavery

5) No one should be subjected to torture or to cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

6) Everyone has the right to the law everywhere.

7) Everyone has equal standing and protection before the
law without discrimination.

8) Everyone has the right to remedy if their legal or
constitutional rights are violated

9) No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention
or exile.

10) Everyone has the right to a fair and public hearing
by an independent and impartial court against any criminal
charges.

11) Everyone has the right to be presumed innocent until
proven guilty; and criminal law shall not work backwards
in time.

12) Everyone has the right to privacy, and to not have
their reputation and honour come under attack.

13) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and
residence in their own country, and others.

14) Everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum in
other countries from political persecution.

15) Everyone has the right to nationality.

16) Everyone has equal rights to marry and have a family.

17) Everyone has the right to own property.

18) Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience
and religion, and to practice it.

19) Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression,
and to information.

20) Everyone has the right to freedom of assembly and
association.

21) Everyone has the right to participate in the government
of his country.

22) Everyone has the right to social security, and to
economic, social and cultural rights that are necessary
for personal development and dignity.

23) Everyone has the right to work, equal and just pay,
and to form and join trade unions.

24) Everyone has the right to rest and leisure.

25) Everyone has the right to adequate livelihood and
a reasonable standard of living.

26) Everyone has the right to education.

27) Everyone has the right to culture, arts and scientific
development, and to benefit from them.

28) Everyone has the right to social and international
order so that their rights and freedoms can be realised.

29) Everyone has duties to the community, and the exercise
of personal rights should not infringe those of others.

30) Nothing in the declaration is to be interpreted as
giving any party the right to do anything that will destroy
any of the rights and freedoms within it.

Within the rights and freedoms, there are
conditions and stipulations. To check out the overview,
go to the United Nations website.

This declaration is a piece of document
created from a specific time in our collective history.
So it also carries within it some gender biases from 1948.
For example, every person in the document is referred to
in male terms ("he", "his", "brotherhood")

Women's movements across the world have
fought for the recognition of women's perspectives into
the understanding of rights and freedoms. This happened
in different ways for different priorities at different
times in different places.

Globally, the Fourth
World Conference on Women
held in Beijing in 1995 is
generally seen as an important event that raised the prominence
of women's rights as human rights, equally and without discrimination.

How would human rights that apply differently
to women as it would to men?

For example, how would the right to privacy
or security look like to a woman who is in a situation of
domestic violence? Do a quick search on the internet for
"rights to privacy" and "communication".
How many of your search results include violence against
women as part of its dimension and understanding of privacy
rights?

Wikipedia

Wikipedia
is one of the most exciting online collaborative knowledge
building projects in recent times. Started in 2001, it currently
contains 1,524,435 articles, and many other localised wikipedia
sites in other national languages.

In theory, anyone with an internet connection
is able to add articles and resources, edit information
and participate in editorial decisions. Many users including
students, journalists and researchers have begun to use
wikipedia as a source of information and reference.

So that this resource does not commit the
same mistake as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(when first conceived), we have to make sure that gender
perspectives are taken into account.

From
today until next year's 16 Days of Activism,

make a personal commitment to add to the information available
in wikipedia through the perspective of women's rights.

For example, under the "Privacy"
article, add information about how women in situations of
violence relate to this issue. Add in an article about your
shero, and raise the presence of women who have contributed
significantly to society and knowledge. Make it a collective
project.

You can find out how to add content to
wikipedia on the getting
started
page, or ask
specific questions
if you come across any difficulty.

Discuss with others on Tech
Talk & VAW
on how your initiative is going.

Let's
keep the activism strong!