Women's Rights Are Human Rights
Women's Rights Are Human Rights. International Posters on Gender-based Inequality, Violence and Discrimination
28 April - 1 October 2017
Format B2 Gallery
Curated by Elizabeth Resnick
Collaboration on the part of the Poster Museum at Wilanów: Izabela Iwanicka, Aleksandra Oleksiak
Women's Rights Are Human Rights is a very fitting title for an exhibition of Women’s rights and advocacy posters, as it is a term used in the women's rights movement and was the title of an important speech given by Hillary Rodham Clinton at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. In her speech, Hillary Clinton suggests that “if the term 'women's rights' were to be interchangeable with the term 'human rights' the world community would be a better place because human rights effect the women who raise the world's children, care for the elderly, run companies, work in hospitals, fight for better education and better health care.”
Yet gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society. Women lack access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage disparities. Women are often denied access to basic education and health care, and suffer from violence and discrimination, and are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes.
In many cultures women have very little control over their own bodies, with female sexuality being largely controlled and defined by men in patriarchal societies. Sexual violence committed by men is often rooted in ideologies of male sexual entitlement, and these systems grant women very few legitimate options to refuse sexual advances. This entitlement can take different forms, depending on the culture. Human rights and women's rights are violated every single day as the rape and brutality of women is used as an instrument of armed conflict. Women and children make up a large majority of the world’s refugees. And when women are excluded from the political process, they become even more vulnerable to abuse.
This exhibition features posters created by both men and women to celebrate and acknowledge the vital role that all citizens should play in protecting and promoting human rights while challenging gender inequality and stereotypes, advancing sexual and reproductive rights, and protecting women and girls against brutality. These posters promote women’s empowerment and participation in society while challenging religious and cultural norms and patriarchal attitudes that subordinate, stigmatize or restrict women from achieving their fullest potential. In their collective visual voice, these posters are designed to jolt the viewer’s sense of collective responsibility to challenge prevailing attitudes toward gender inequality and discrimination, while provoking both a healthy discomfort and empathetic response in the viewers.
Professor Emerita, Graphic Design, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts USA