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Human Rights: Women's Rights

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My topic for my EE is human rights, focusing on women's rights, so would "How does the treatment of women in (place country of choice here) conflict the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and how is it prolonged by internal oppression?" I'm tentatively considering Iraq, and am currently looking for articles and books on the subject. Input would be much appreciated! It may be too broad...I'm not sure. If you find any good research materials for me to consider that would be great too! I'm having trouble finding sources regarding the "self-oppression" part (meaning that the discrimination of a group is prolonged by the members of the group itself).

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Id consider Pakistan considering the girl who was shot in the head for wanting to go to school or Afghanistan just for being very oppressive.

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Id consider Pakistan considering the girl who was shot in the head for wanting to go to school or Afghanistan just for being very oppressive.

I did consider those topics, but I'm not so sure about them. Yes, there's definitely a lot of research material available for Pakistan and Afghanistan, but maybe too much, if that makes sense. It's really easy to make a women's rights paper seem cliche, and I'm trying to avoid that as much as possible. Plus, if I continue with Iraq, I could also discuss how the topic of women's rights has been affected by US intervention, and how that affects the social climate there, hopefully without going off-topic.

Edited by Brienna

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Hey there!

Now, I didn't do Human Rights as a subject during IB (although I'd love to!), but I believe your topic is somewhat too broad. As your research question stands at the moment, logically people would expect you to discuss how women has been treated the last 65 years in a given country, and, on top of that, to explain how this conflict between treatment and the 30 articles of UDHR has prolonged the violation of women's rights. In addition, you assume that the that internal oppression has prolonged the violation. Assumptions, as you have learnt/will learn in TOK, should be avoided at all costs without proper reasoning (to a degree where it ceases to be an assumption). Although I agree that the assumption is a sensible one, you should formulate it differently. For instance, '... and has it been prolonged by internal oppression?' would lead to a much better RQ. You would then have to identify and analyse the internal oppression and its consequences in your essay. If you're specifically talking about internal oppression of women, then you should clarify this in the RQ itself. However, if this is the case, then I would say your RQ needs rephrasing. If the treatment of women is in violation of the UDHR, then it is oppression of women in at least some ways.

However, as I mentioned, I think the topic is too broad as it is right now. You could definitely have written a book about this topic, given that you choose a feasible nation. Therefore, I would personally have focused on either the treatment of women in a particular nation (or a particular region of a nation even) during a particular period of time (let's say 1990-2000) and how it is in violation of some specific articles of the UDHR or to what extent the internal oppression in a particular nation (or, again, a particular region of a nation) has lead to prolongation of the violation of women's rights during a particular period of time. It should be made clear what kind of internal oppression you're talking about - domestic oppression of the population in general, oppression of a certain religious group, mental suppression of yourself...?

Though, at this point, it must be said that you might increase the quality of your essay by rephrasing your RQ entirely. You mention, for instance, that you could discuss how the US intervention of Iraq has affected women's rights in Iraq. Instead of trying to deal with the US intervention and its effects + the treatment of women in general + the consequences of internal oppression on women's rights (which is in essence three different EE topics), you could choose to focus on the US intervention only. I still feel that it might be a bit too broad, though, so you will perhaps have to narrow it down some more.

cjy mentioned Malala and her incident with Taliban. You might be right that EEs about the women's rights in Pakistan is a much researched topic, but maybe you could consider writing an EE on the situation regarding women and education in Pakistan with focus on Malala's experiences? This would most likely lead to a rather new approach to the topic, which would automatically remove the 'cliché' tag on your EE.

Good luck!

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Okay, so I think I'm going to choose "To what extent did the U.S. occupation of Iraq affect the treatment of women in Iraq?". It seems less cliche, it's much more narrow, and hopefully I'll be able to find enough research material in my area. Writing an EE over women's rights in Pakistan with an emphasis on Malala is great idea though, so I'm a bit torn. Thanks for all the help!

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