Socio-Economic rights/Development is a sub-theme of Human Rights and provides information relevant to women, their socio-economic rights and development.
Socio-economic rights are a vital aspect of the human rights agenda for women. Without access to, for example, education, health, housing or water, other civil and political rights have limited meaning. Conflict and post-conflict situations create a significant challenge to women’s ability to make gains in their economic stability. However, working to guarantee women their socio-economic rights in such contexts can be an avenue towards reconstruction and peacebuilding.
Women in post-conflict situation often experience discrimination and/or lack of access to education, health services and other inalienable rights that results in limiting their opportunities for economic survival. The guarantee of women’s socio-economic rights is closely tied to women’s empowerment, the capacity to participate in peacemaking and peacebuilding and the ability to freely exercise civil and political rights. The denial or lack of access to economic and social rights can impede the effective reconstruction of post-conflict societies.
Socio-economic rights are closely related to community and national development. The General Assembly has set out a right to development in the Declaration on the Right to Development (1986) defining this as "an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized." In this declaration governments emphasized that both human rights and development are mutually reinforcing and the right to development is critical in addressing the structural and systematic injustices in the world order.
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) (1966), enumerates socio-economic rights as including, but not being limited to, the right to education, health, housing, food and water, work, social security, an adequate standard of living, a healthy environment, and the right to development. This treaty also notes that all socio-economic rights must be guaranteed without discrimination (article 2). Similarly, CEDAW deals with socio-economic rights through a non-discrimination lens that supports women’s groups advocating for socio-economic rights as a means of eradicating discrimination based on gender.