Women’s and Children’s Rights as Human Rights

Many people still think of gender as "just a women's issue,” considering it secondary -- when in reality how gender roles and relations are constructed affects everything in a society -- from families, education and religion, to politics and economics. CPS’s work helps us connect the dots.

Women, Men, and the Global Quality of Life

By: Riane Eisler, David Loye, and Kari Norgaard

Originally released at the U.N. Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995, this CPS study of 89 countries dramatically reveals the connection between women's rights and a better quality of life for both men and women. Using a variety of statistical analyses, this groundbreaking work correlates women's higher educational levels, political representation, and access to contraception with a society's overall higher living standards: life spans, health care, education, income, and preservation of the environment. It points to policies needed for a partnership future. The findings from this study have now been corroborated by the World Economic Forum’s annual Gender Gap Reports and other research.

2013 State Department Speech: : What’s good for women is good for the world

2013 State Department Speech: : What’s good for women is good for the world

Did you know that 70% of those living in poverty are in fact, women and children? Riane Eisler addresses this issue, along with violence against women and other vital issues, with global comparisons at a U.S. Department of State speech on March 21, 2013.

Read the Speech

Revisioning the Economic Rules: Empowering Women and Changing the World

Why should “women’s issues” be at the front of any social agenda for a sustainable, equitable, and peaceful future? As women’s status rises, so does fiscal support for the “high quality human capital” necessary for success in the post-industrial / knowledge economy.

Read the Article

Spanish version of this speech: Repaso de las Reglas Economicas: Delegar a Mujeres Y Cambiar el Mundo.

Human Rights: Toward an Integrated Theory For Action

A historical document: this article by Riane Eisler was the first publication on what has become known as “women’s rights as human rights” in the influential Human Rights Quarterly. It provides an overview of the human rights and women's rights movements, examining some of the consequences of this separation for both women and society at large. It outlines a unified action-oriented theory of human rights that includes the whole of humanity -- women and men.

The Economic Condition of U.S. Women: “Unpaid and Undervalued Care Work Keeps Women on the Brink

This article, published in the 2014 Shriver Report, shows that a major reason that one-third of American women either live in poverty or on its brink, is the failure of U.S. policies to support care work

Displacing Androcracy: Cosmopolitan Partnerships in Bapsi Sidhwa’s Water

Analysis by Stefano Mercanti, member of the Partnership Group at Udine University in Italy, of how Indian widows use the partnership/domination continuum in the novel Water.

Family & Public Policy

Caring Economy Campaign


The goal of Center for Partnership Studies main project, the Caring Economy Campaign (CEC), is to influence public policy to support families. It brings together a coalition of organizations and individuals working to end cycles of poverty, empower women, care for children, and promote prosperity, economic justice, and security for all by showing the enormous economic value of caring for people, starting in early childhood, and caring for nature. Its Social Wealth Economic Indicators (SWEIs) empirically demonstrate the urgent need for the United States to catch up with other developed nations in policies that invest in caring for and educating people, such as paid parental and sick leave and high quality early childhood education, as well as the business benefits from providing such policies.

The Caring Family Policy Agenda

Download The Family Security Agenda (updated July, 2017):

As practical as it is principled, the Caring Family Policy Agenda is based on the shared core moral principles of religion and humanism: caring, compassion, justice, and nonviolence. Its principles and programs are easily articulated and have powerful emotional appeal. The Caring Family Agenda has three interacting components:

The Caring Family Agenda has three interacting components:

  1. Children's Bill of Rights
  2. Caring Family Values
  3. Family-Friendly Economy

Why Focus on the Family?

  • Humans must be cared for -- Unlike other species, it takes 18 years for human beings to fully develop. Most of this development takes place within the family. Sound family policies must be a top political and social priority.
  • Our values, and ability to respect others, are shaped by our family experiences -- Families are the primary transmitters of values. It is in families that people develop the core belief systems that consciously or unconsciously determine how we engage in all facets of our lives, from the personal to the political
  • Well developed humans are critical to successful democratic societies -- People are the real wealth of nations. Families contribute significantly to the development of authentic, creative human beings, preparing them to seek innovative solutions to the challenges of the postindustrial era.

1. Children’s Bill of Rights

to stimulate the development of caring family policies, including legislation and ballot initiatives, needed for a healthy equitable, and productive society, children need a bill of rights.

The Children’s Bill of Rights includes the right to shelter, nutrition, health care, education, freedom from violence, and a clean environment -- all essential if children are to have a fair opportunity to grow up healthy and thrive.

  • Care for Every Child. Ensuring that all children have high quality health care and child care. This benefits children, families, the economy, and society.
  • Preschool for All. Guaranteeing access to comprehensive preschool education as a basis for life-long learning.
  • Quality Education. Focusing on the quality of each individual child’s education, including the arts, music, literature and science, rather than on high stakes testing.
  • Safe Children Initiative. Protecting children from violence in the family, in schools, and when children are in the custody of the state.
  • Prevention First: Ensuring Every Child Is Wanted. Comprehensive sexuality and relationships education in the public schools is the key to protecting teenagers from unwanted pregnancies, ensuring that every child is born to loving parents prepared for this important responsibility.
  • Safety and Good Loving Care for Children in Foster Care and Adoptive Homes and Rehabilitation of Children in State Custody. This saves lives – and tax dollars.
  • High Standards for Professional Training and Living Wages for Childcare workers and Early Childhood Teachers. This is an essential investment in our children’s future.

2. Caring Family Values

Families based on partnership, mutual respect, and caring are foundational to a free, equal, and democratic society.

The Caring Family Policy Agenda can be embraced by all – right and left, liberal and conservative, secular and religious. We must further this agenda to build strong healthy families and a just, caring, and prosperous society.

  • Education for Responsible and Loving Family Relations. Mandatory family life education in schools, including parenting education based on scientific findings about best parenting practices.
  • Safe Families Initiative. Better enforcement of domestic violence laws, and increased state funding for shelters for battered women and children are critical to stop intimate violence, which teaches children that it is acceptable to use violence to impose one’s will on others.
  • Retirement Security for Caregivers. Because today social security only covers work in the market, women over 65, most of them caregivers, are twice as poor as men. We must recognize the value of the work of caregiving in families through changes in our social security system.
  • Fulfilling the American Dream of Equality. Equality between women and men promotes healthy relationships as well as a healthy, democratic, and caring society.
  • Respecting Every Family Initiative. It is America’s moral duty to respect and support every committed family constellation, including blended families many of whom are raising children in common.

3. Family-Friendly American Economy

Studies show that worker productivity rises exponentially when there is a life/work balance – that investment in families and children ensures a stronger economy and a healthier society. This is an investment that the nation must make, our corporations cannot carry it alone and still compete in a global economy.

  • National Family Health Initiative. An affordable national health care system, prenatal to lifelong, focusing on wellness and prevention of illness is essential not only for human wellbeing but for national wellbeing. It is unfair to put this burden solely on employers, it is our job as a democratic nation.
  • State-funded Child Care with well trained licensed caregivers, as well as tax and other incentives for employers to provide good childcare.
  • Universal Paid Family Leave for Part- and Full-Time Employees including family and medical leave for both fathers and mothers of babies as well as caregivers for elderly parents provided by the state or through tax and other incentives for employers.
  • Inclusion of the Caregiving Work Done in Households in GNP and Other Measures of Economic Productivity. Statistical analyses in the U.S. and other nations show that the value of unpaid work is the largest contributor to economic productivity.
  • Living Wage Legislation enacted at the local, state and federal levels, which should also include equal pay for work of equal value.
  • Caregiver Tax Credit to give visibility and value to the invisible caregivers that keep our economy going, and for those below the poverty line, a stipend in the amount of the credit as a step toward addressing the disproportionate poverty of caregivers.
  • Workplace Rules that Enable Parents to Spend Time with Children, including flex time, telecommuting, and increased vacation and sick leave.
  • Laws that Phase Out Corporate Practices that Harm Families and Children – from toxic dumps and other forms of environmental pollution, to marketing of unhealthy food and drinks to children.
  • Incentives Encouraging Environmentally Friendly Practices –Individuals and businesses must be encouraged to use science, conservation, and restoration to protect our natural environment.

Additional Resources

Caring and Connected Parenting Guide:

The Caring and Connected Parenting Guide: A Guide to Raising Connected Children, lauded by leading pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and Nobel Peace Laureates Desmond Tutu and Betty Williams, is an indispensable guide for parents. Based on the latest neuroscience research, it contains sections for newborns to 1 year, 1 to 2 years, 2 to 3 years, and 3 to 4 years old. There is also a parents’ section and an additional resources section for parents who come from abusive backgrounds. The guide is written by CPS’s Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence (SAIV) Executive Committee member Licia Rando, M.Ed.

Click here to read about the science behind the guide.

Click here to download the Spanish version, Guía para una crianza con amor y conexión. Una guía para criar niños conectados del nacimiento a los 4 años.