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Women have left an indelible mark on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Through their pushing particular rights to appear as articles or via changing the very language of the text, women have influenced the shape of the Declaration since its inception. Their work made it the universalizing document that it has remained, said Rebecca Adami, a senior lecturer at Stockholm University in Sweden.

“The counter-narrative I seek to provide fills a gap in studies on human rights and women in history, tracing the notion of human rights to the UDHR as historically anchored in the political and economic struggles for emancipation of women throughout the world after the Second World War,” Adami said.

Adami has taken a closer look at women’s involvement in the early stages of the international human rights movement in general and the UDHR in specific in a number of academic papers.  Her book “Women and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” will be published by Routledge later this year. It will be launched at an event at the United Nations bookshop in New York in early December, right before Human Rights Day.

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