The social welfare system in the United States
Social welfare refers to the provision of wellbeing to the people through policies that enable the underprivileged to receive key services and dignity in the community. Social welfare policies are necessary for advancing and fighting for the rights of the minority and the socially underprivileged such as women. In the last few decades, women social welfare campaigns have increased in the bid of increasing community cohesion and equality. The society has for long looked down upon women regarding sharing resources and also regarding political representation. Through proactive social welfare more women have been able to get involved in the social, political and economic development of different national and international organizations. The star for women continues to shine brightly as women gain more economic autonomy and political representation. However, there is still much that is desired regarding women social equality and welfare. Women in the 21st century still suffer abuse such as domestic violence, rape and lack of social equality (Keck & Sikkink, 2014).
Equality Now is an organization that is aimed at fighting and advocating for the social welfare of women and children. Women and children are always faced by social, political and economic threats. Due to poor representation of women, women are left at the mercy of men and in some communities due to biased customs women are denied equal representation. Equal now aims at using legal means and advocacy to fight for gender equality and an end to sexual violence against women in the community. The organization believes that every woman and girl has a human right to be treated equally under the law. The organization believes that it can use legal means to create social change and improve the livelihood of women in the community. The organization was started in 1992, and since then the organization has been able to achieve tremendous fete in helping women and girls across the globe to achieve equality and opportunity and the world that is predominantly dominated by social institutions that support the male gender more. The organization boasts of a large number of partners across the globe and using this approach the organization has been able to change at least fifty sexist laws across the globe hence ensuring women get a voice and equal social treatment.
Basic human rights
Despite the number of women across the world being significantly larger than that of men. Women are largely denied basic human rights due to the existent of sexist laws and cultures. Equality Now notes that equality and opportunity for women are central to the prosperity and progress of humankind as a whole. The primary organization approach is through the use of the law to create the world where women and girls also have equal rights and determinism. The organization has advanced the fight against inequality and violence on women by using legal advocacy. In this approach, the organization uses selective cases to change the entire laws which are perceived as biased and oppressive against women.
The primary goals for Equality Now organization are to ensure women in the community are viewed with respect and given opportunities as well as their male counterparts. The organization does not only target the women in America but the entire world. Different cultures have different practices that are demeaning to women regarding regional discrimination. For instance, some cultures carry out female genital mutilations which the organization has been able to brand an abuse and violence against women hence advocating for the end of such cultures. Also, international practices such as women trafficking and sex tourism are also demeaning to women, and the organization continues to reach out across the world to make these practices illegal using legal advocacy (Schneider & Lester, 2000).
The organization aims at increasing political and economic representation of women through education. Education is a powerful tool that can be used to change perceptions and attitudes that the community has against women and also can give women positivity to fight for their rights and equal treatment in the community. Education can be used to eradicate generational poverty and prepare women for important opportunities to serve in the community political and business elite. The organization can do this by raising capital through donations and events through which they can raise enough money to fund their global activities (Keck & Sikkink, 2014).
Social equality is a major problem in our communities and institutions at large; most organizations use social and legal advocacy to fight against social inequality in the community which is facilitated by the lack of enough and credible legal measures to support justice in the society. Through advocacy which is the use of knowledge for the purpose of creating social change can help make a significant impact in reducing social inequality. Advocacy aims at supporting decisions that are intended to undermine government policy, laws and procedures that are blamed for the suffering of women and girls in the community. Equality Now aims at supporting laws that support the rights of women to ensure they are well implemented and at the same time aims at reducing the negative impact of policies that do not assist the women in advancing their equal representation in the community. The organization motivates and mobilizes the community and other organizations to create public outcry and interest which can be used to amend laws and also draft more legal measures that are used to drive equality (Hardcastle et al. 2004).
Mobilization is the inclusion of other people in activities that the organization undertakes. Through mobilization, the organization can pool more resources and promote self-sufficiency of its activities which further promotes the organization success in making legal and other practical changes in the community to raise the ability of women to fight and champion for their rights. Mobilization helps increase the influence of the organization and put more pressure on the government both politically and legally to win the organization battles for women (Mullaly, 2007).
Representation as an important approach
Representation is an important approach and avenue through which Equality Now fights for women. It is impossible for the entire group of women to stand and voice their views. However, through representation which is the selection of a few to air the interests of the entire group has played a significant role in the organization achievements. Through selective representation, the organization can send ambassadors in important meetings such as the annual United Nations human rights conference who can air their concerns on behalf of all the women across the globe (Mullaly, 2007).
Empowerment is a critical approach to fighting for the rights and representation of women. The organization primary avenue for the empowerment of women as a form of advocacy is through the use of education. Education enables women to gain understanding the greater picture and prepares women for opportunities that require significant education competence which most often is used as a means to discriminate against women. Through empowerment, the organization has been able to accomplish tremendous achievement and improved the livelihood of women across the globe (Hardcastle et al. 2004).
Lobbying refers to activities that Equality Now use to influence decision makers to further promote equality and gender inclusion. Most political and economic decisions cannot be changed without using the correct approach through which the organization should prepare a strategy to support its lobbyist activities. The process of inclusion of women rights such as the outlaw of gender discrimination and the ability to allow women to run for political, social institutions leadership positions can only be achieved through effective lobbying (Keck & Sikkink, 2014).
Legal advocacy and strategic litigation
- The organization has been able to combine legal advocacy and strategic litigation which refers to taking specific cases to court with the aim changing the law and setting legal precedents. Through Equality Nowts advocacy activities Hawaii was able to pass the first U.S. law that explicitly made sex tourism a crime.
- The organization has been on the forefront in influencing policy makers with the aim of strengthening human rights and mechanisms. Equality Nowts activism in Kuwait helped achieve voting rights for women following years of advocacy by Kuwaiti women for political participation.
- The organization has been able to hold the government accountable for international human rights violations hence acting as a watchdog for human rights.
- The organization has been able to inspire the public and the media to take more action against human rights abuses with the aim of increasing information regarding the rights and role of women in the community.
The international community
The organization has been unable to appeal to the international community against violence against women and children in the ongoing Middle East crisis which has led to the death of many women and children. Also, in the Arab world, women have for long been denied their rights and are mistreated by men and denied equal opportunity.
The organization hopes to reach more women and increase the integration of women into important organization activities and political strategies that can increase the equal representation of women. The organization aims to use legal advocacy further to create more policies that protect the rights of women.
Equality Now; A just world for women and girls http://www.equalitynow.org/why-gender-equality
Hardcastle, D., Powers, P. & Wenocur, S. (2004). Using the Advocacy Spectrum, Community Practice: Theories and Skills for Social Workers, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 355-387. (ER)
Keck, M. E., & Sikkink, K. (2014). Activists beyond borders: Advocacy networks in international politics. Cornell University Press.
Mullaly, R (2007, 3rd ed) Working Outside and (Against) the System. The New Structural Social Work: Ideology, Theory & Practice. Ch.12, pp. 331-362. (ER)
Schneider, R. & Lester, L. (2000). Social Work Advocacy. Brooks/Cole, Ch. 1, Advocacyts Rich & Diverse History, pp.5-55
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