Education Opportunities: Women's Rights

by Laura-Camille on March 24, 2017 - 11:54am

The issue of women’s rights can be approached in many different ways.  Everyday, women from around the world face various challenges simply because of their sex, and these challenges can be increased by other factors such as race, education, and social class. Although the need for the defense of women’s rights in western society is constantly questioned, Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres stated as recently as last March 13 that “women’s rights are under attack worldwide” (Lederer for TIME magazine). For examples of these attacks and challenges and of what has been done to support and defend women, consult the links at the end of this article. If one is interested in this subject and in making a difference, there are several higher education programs available relating to this important issue.

A first program is Obstetrics and Gynecology, from the Faculty of Medicine. Precisely, obstetrics is the medicine concerned with childbirth and the support and treatment of women related to the birth of their child, while gynecology is the specialization in maintaining a woman’s health and in treating diseases of the female reproductive organs. Students start by going to medical school, and then specialize in the discipline of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Upon the completion of their studies, students become OB/GYN doctors. Thus, this discipline is directly related to women’s health and rights, as OB/GYN doctors are dedicated to providing support and advice to women and preventing medical issues. Unfortunately, unlike in Canada where healthcare is free (publicly funded), women may not always have access to such medical professionals to due a lack of insurance, which can be very costly, and therefore increase women’s vulnerability to medical complications and diseases.

A second field of study related to women’s rights is Women and Gender Studies. In short, this is “the multidisciplinary study of the social status and societal contributions of women and the relationship between power and gender” (definition by the Merriam-Webster dictionary). Depending on the program, faculty, and university, it can also include the study of genders in general. Furthermore, there are many departments and faculties that offer this specialization, ranging from Political Science, Social Work and even Religious Studies. Hence, depending on the bachelor one has undertook, there are a wide variety of careers possible; Lawyer, Sociologist, Community Worker and Public Relations Specialist are only a few examples of possible careers. With a speciality in Women’s Studies, graduates can make be involved in women’s rights in every sphere of society, whether it is on a local, national or international level.

Finally, another field of study subject to interest people involved in women’s health and rights is Counselling Psychology, from the faculty of Psychology. This discipline trains professionals to “address the emotional, social, work, school and physical health concerns people may have at different stages in their lives, focusing on typical life stresses and more severe issues with which people may struggle as individuals and as a part of families, groups and organizations” (definition provided by the American Psychological Association). Therefore, counselling psychology can provide support to women in need, such as women that are/were victims of abuse, single mothers, women living in poverty, etc. For example, the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal provides various services and programs for native women and children that provide a safe environment where they can rebuild their lives and that promote their independence and empowerment. Amongst these services, they provide access to individual counselling, psychotherapy and group therapy. All of these services would not be available without the presence of counsellors and psychologists.

These three disciplines amongst several others show that there are various ways to help women around the world and/or in your local city. It is with the help of experts and professionals that women can and will be able to have the same treatment and respect that is given to men.

Useful Links:

For examples of news stories related to feminism and women’s rights, consult the following articles:

-       http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/01/18/mmiw-inquiry-ottawa-liberals-families_n_14246152.html

-       http://sierraexpressmedia.com/?p=80336

-       https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/02/14/oklahoma-bill-would-require-father-of-fetus-to-approve-abortion/?utm_term=.5ccc2d77fba8

-       http://www.emirates247.com/news/government/uae-gender-balance-council-discusses-initiatives-for-2017-and-showcases-its-achievements-for-the-year-2017-03-13-1.649619

-       http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/development-unplugged/empowering-women-and-girls_b_15358416.html

Certain universities with a program in Obstetrics and Gynecology:

-       McGill University, Montreal; https://www.mcgill.ca/obgyn/teaching/residents.

-       University of Ottawa, Ottawa; https://med.uottawa.ca/obs-gyne/.

-       Queen’s University, Kingston; http://obgyn.queensu.ca/.

-       University of Toronto; http://www.obgyn.utoronto.ca/undergraduate-program.

-       Stanford Medical School; http://obgyn.stanford.edu/education/residency.html.

Certain universities with a program in Women’s Studies:

-       McGill University, Montreal; https://www.mcgill.ca/igsf/programs/gws/.

-       Simmon’s College, Boston; http://www.simmons.edu/academics/schools/college-of-arts-and-sciences/departments/womens-and-gender-studies.

-       University of Toronto, Mississauga; http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/women-studies/women-gender-studies.

-       Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore; http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/center-for-public-health-and-human-rights/research/womens-health-rights/.

Certain universities with a program in Counselling Psychology:

-       McGill University, Montreal; https://www.mcgill.ca/edu-ecp/programs.

-       Alder School of Professional Psychology, Vancouver; http://www.adler.edu/page/areas-of-study/vancouver/ma-in-counselling-psychology/overview.

-       University of Western Ontario, London; http://www.edu.uwo.ca/graduate-education/program/ma/counselling-psychology.html .

-       University of Toronto; http://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/prospectivestudents/Pages/Programs/Counselling-Psychology.aspx.

Link to the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal: http://www.nwsm.info/projects-programs/ .

For the TIME Magazine article by Lederer on the UN Nations Commission (and Guterres’s statements), follow this link: http://time.com/4700482/united-nations-womens-rights-guterres/

About the author

Small town girl (livin' in a lonely world) passionate about music, peace, human rights and universal love. People that surround me sometimes say that I should not talk about certain "controversial" issues, but I am stubborn and persuasive.