Here at Because I am a Girl, girls’ rights are a big deal. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about rights and what are girls’ rights specifically? Use this glossary to help wrap your head around what we mean when we talk about girls’ rights.
A right is something to which a person is entitled, legally or morally. It’s different from a privilege (an advantage that is enjoyed) or a responsibility (a duty or being accountable for something).
For example, education is a right. Going to school at a specialized private school is a privilege. Making sure you show up for class is a responsibility.
Freedoms are closely related to rights and are basically the freedom to exercise choice. Having freedom is “the condition of being free of restraints.”
Some examples are the freedom of movement, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.
Human rights are: “basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, language or other status.”
- Are universal – they apply to every single human being
- Can exist in international and national law (Canadian’s human rights are enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms)
- Are protected by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
- Include civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights.
Girls’ rights are not different than human rights, but focusing on girls’ rights recognizes that girls should never be excluded from the same rights that others have. Girls’ rights are about equality and the freedom for girls to demand the same rights that are afforded to everyone else. Unfortunately, we are still on a mission to make sure that girls are able to access their rights on a daily basis around the world!