> Declaration of Principles on Women’s Rights

Every person possesses intellect, free will and freedom. Their existence is defined by honor and dignity. Women and men are equal in essence. They are endowed with fundamental, inalienable rights, as well as both personal and social responsibilities. The common experience of humankind also speaks to this truth.

These fundamental rights protect physical and spiritual integrity; ensure the freedom of thought, expression and beliefs; provide for the preservation of the family and continuity of generations to come; and safeguard property rights.

Within this framework, women and men are responsible from each other. Fulfillment of these responsibilities is about justice between women and men, not about social hierarchies. The differentiation of areas of responsibility neither affect nor negate the principle of equality.

Sharing of tasks within the family should be based on justice and equity in such a way that the rights of all family members are protected. Women’s physical and spiritual integrity cannot be violated under any circumstances either in the family or in society. There is no legitimate explanation for damaging a woman’s dignity and honor. Women’s freedom of speech, thought and belief; access to education; and the right to acquire and own property cannot be impeded.

Women cannot be forced to define themselves in terms of social and economic stereotypes imposed upon them by society. Women can neither be forced to work in expectation of economic profit, nor demeaned for not participating in the workforce. Similarly, women who do not or cannot have children cannot be deemed deficient or inadequate. The preferences and obligations of women are not decisive of their human value.

In light of these fundamental principles:

• Women’s mental, physical and spiritual integrity are inviolable. No tenet or social practice can justify violence. All kinds of physical violence, such as beating, molestation and rape, as well as psychological violence, such as insulting, belittling as weak or inadequate, holding under constant control and humiliation are unacceptable. The sanctity, privacy and confines of the home and family also can never lend legitimacy to violence against women.

• The state is obliged to guarantee women’s freedom of speech, thought and belief, and ensure the conditions required for the free exercise of these rights. These are fundamental rights held by women and are not dependent on permission or approval from any individual or institution.

• The institutions of family and marriage are essential for the protection and perpetuation of future generations and lineage. For the sustainability of the family and the raising of healthy future generations, the necessary measures should be taken, the legal and social infrastructure should be laid, and all manner of support should be provided in case of need.

Physiological adequacy cannot be the only criterion for marriage and child bearing, as free will and agency are also essential. Child marriage and forced marriages therefore are unacceptable. Women’s life, as well as property and custody rights, must be protected in the event of divorce.

The uncontrolled use of reproductive technologies that causes genealogical confusion, arbitrary sterilization practices, international social engineering concerning sexual orientations are all issues with which both states and civil society should engage.

• The conditions necessary for women to be able to exercise their right to work shall be established and legal and social barriers to women’s employment should be removed.

Women’s economic rights cannot be boiled down to their participation in the workforce. These rights also include, for example, equal pay for equal work. Discrimination against women based on their religious beliefs and outward appearance also is unacceptable. Furthermore, it is the duty of the state and civil society to appreciate and make visible the unseen labor and societal benefits provided by women who do not officially participate in the workforce.

Women’s financial rights within family law are also inviolable. It is women’s economic right to receive an equitable share of a mahr* and inheritance as determined by the parties’ common will in line with their customs and beliefs. Women’s economic rights also include the fairly determined payment of alimony and divorce compensation.

The above-mentioned fundamental principles serve to create a strong society. These principles rely on numerous conventions, doctrines and declarations, as well as time-honored values resulting from the universal history of thought that aim to protect the human mind, body, belief, lineage, and property.

As the Women and Democracy Association (KADEM), we declare that, while adhering to these principles, we will continue our struggle for a world in which all women live in dignity and security. We invite all persons and institutions with any claim to fairness and justice to be the custodians and implementers of these principles.

Equal in existence, for a fair world in responsibility
You sign too!