Women’s Rights as Human Rights: Local and Global Perspectives
Strategies and Analyses from the ICCL Working Conference on Women’s Rights as Human Rights (Dublin, March 1997)
Edited by Niamh Reilly

Expanding Resources and Networking for Women’s Human Rights

Networking. Participants in the working session viewed networking as central to increasing women’s power and capacity. However, it is important to try and limit duplication and to connect to existing networks. Recognising the diversity of groups, there is a need to be aware of and to "break down language barriers." It is also important to acknowledge that "there are many different contexts in which women’s groups operate" – at the local, regional and national level – and networking activities should serve to link these different contexts in a way that is mutually supportive to the women in each. Because there are many different interests and focuses, especially in relation to human rights, "there is always a need for practical information about the different groups that exist." The human rights framework, and the idea of "women’s rights as human rights," offer an opportunity to "create solidarity with all the diverse interests."

Expanding Resources and Networking. There is need to develop a resource pack detailing the processes involved in networking; Information exchange, action alerts, collaborative activities and so on.

A directory of existing organisations at local, regional and national level should be compiled where organisations are categorised. The directory should be widely available and made accessible to people with disabilities and reading difficulties.

Establish a database/document library in a single location that would contain human rights documents and information on human rights organisations, current human rights concerns, and human rights policy discussions.

Resources must be made available to organise workshops, training sessions, and discussion groups where individual women and groups can develop a clearer understanding of what a human rights framework is and how it can benefit their work. In this context, "human rights issues must be promoted at the local level and in a context relevant to that locality."

An effective way of building any network is to mobilise support around a particular case. In the case of women’s human rights, the case of Roisin McAliskey, for example, could be used to look at the gender-specific aspects of state-sponsored abuses of human rights.

A women’s human rights network should be developed linking the local, regional, and national levels where "local strategic networks play a crucial role" and each group "takes responsibility for organising in their own areas of interest."

Art and creative tools should be used to raise awareness of human rights issues.

The government should be pressed to exercise its responsibility and expend more resources on human rights education at local and national levels through informal education and in the schools.

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