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Vulnerable groups: Women The term women's rights refers to the freedoms inherently possessed by women and girls

of all ages, which may be institutionalized, ignored or suppressed by law, custom, and behavior in a particular society. These liberties are grouped together and differentiated from broader notions of human rights because they often differ from the freedoms inherently possessed by or recognized for men and boys and because activism surrounding this issue claims an inherent historical and traditional bias against the exercise of rights by women. Historical background: Till the mid nineteenth century, writers assumed that a patriarchal order was a natural order that had existed as JS Mill wrote, since "the very earliest twilight of human society". By the early 20th century, womens own organization began to be formed and a special category of womens activism was constructed. Equality between the sexes was guaranteed by the Constitution of Independent India. Most feminist campaigns were based on the premise that it is unfair that certain categories of human beings be treated as inferior to other categories. In India there are multiple socio-economic disadvantages that members of particular groups experience which limits their access to health, education, basic necessities, fundamental rights- in other words, they become vulnerable groups, often due to this kind of marginality. Structural norms are attached to the different relationships between the subordinate and the dominant group in every society, ie they are determined by power differentials. A groups status may for example, be determined on the basis of gender, ethnic origin, skin colour, etc. The norms act as structural barriers giving rise to various forms of inequality. Women face double discrimination being members of specific caste, class or ethnic group apart from experiencing gendered vulnerabilities. In India, social norms and cultural practices are rooted in a highly patriarchal social order where women are expected to adhere to strict gender roles about what they can and cannot do. About 28 per cent of girls in India get married below the legal age and experience pregnancy (Reproductive and Child Health District level Household Survey 2002-04, August 2006) The average maternal mortality ratio at the national level is 540 deaths per 100,000 live births (National Family Health Survey-2, 2000). It varies between states and regions, i.e., rural-urban. CEDAW The world has recognized that the human rights of women and of the girl-child are "an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights." (Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, para. 18.) Women are guaranteed equal treatment and freedom from discrimination in the most basic human rights treaties, and women's human rights are the subject of a specific treaty, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. (CEDAW) States must take measures to seek to eliminate prejudices and customs based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of one sex or on stereotyped role for men and women.

States ratifying the Convention are required to enshrine gender equality into their domestic legislation, repeal all discriminatory provisions in their laws, and enact new provisions to guard against discrimination against women. Women, Human rights and Poverty: A life of poverty means that basic needs go unfulfilled, and fundamental human rights are violated. Majority of people living in poverty in the world are women. Women's poverty results in widespread violations of their human rights. When a woman faces a lack of access to adequate housing, food, or health care, her human rights are violated. When she lives in an unsafe and unhealthy environment or lacks access to clean water, she is not enjoying her fundamental human rights to a life of dignity and to an adequate standard of living. When women are denied equal access to employment opportunities, are paid less than men for equal work, or are prevented by law or custom from owning or inheriting land, they are made vulnerable to poverty. Human rights are then designed to include the right to freedom against poverty for women. Other important rights include the Right to full and equal participation in power and decision-making, Right to a Healthy and Safe environment, Human-rights of the Girl-child etc.