The UDHR and Woodhull’s Work
The mission of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation is to “affirm sexual freedom as a fundamental human right.” We believe that all people should be able to express their sexuality, to be autonomous in decisions regarding their own body, and to enjoy sexual dignity, privacy, and consensual sexual expression without societal or governmental interference, coercion or stigmatization. Woodhull’s values reflect the 30 human rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Who took part: UN General Assembly; Director of the Division of Human Rights of the United Nations Secretariat, John Peters Humphrey, had a Committee of the following people that drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: René Cassin of France, Charles Malik of Lebanon, Peng-chun feChang of China, William Hodgson of Australia, Hernán Santa Cruz of Chile, Alexander Bogomolov of the Soviet Union and Charles Dukes (Lord Dukeston) of the United Kingdom.
Women Who Shaped the UDHR: Eleanor Roosevelt is recognized as the driving force behind the UDHR. Other women delegates from various countries played a key role in getting women’s rights included in the Declaration. It was Hansa Mehta of India who changed the phrase “All men are born free and equal” to “All human beings are born free and equal” in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Why was it created: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948 in response to the inhumane actions and human atrocities that occurred during WWII. These 30 articles declare “the inalienable rights to which all human beings regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status are inherently entitled to as human beings.”
Fun Fact: According to the UN and the Guinness Book of World Records, The UDHR is the most translated document of all time!
The specific articles that Woodhull is especially aligned with are Article 2, Article 6, Article 8, Article 16, Article 19, Article 22, Article 23, Article 25, Article 28, and Article 29. These articles are written below.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international cooperation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
“About Us.” About Us – Woodhull Freedom Foundation, Woodhull Freedom Foundation, 28 Nov. 2021, https://www.woodhullfoundation.org/about-us/.
Blinken, Antonin J. “49th Session of the UN Human Rights Council .” 49th Session of the UN Human Rights Council – United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State, 28 Feb. 2022, https://www.state.gov/49th-session-of-the-un-human-rights-council/.
UN Human Rights. “UDHR @ 70: Perspective .” UDHR @ 70: Perspective – YouTube, YouTube, 17 Nov. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaHwy5tdLOY. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations, 2017.