Women’s Rights Are Human Rights: International Posters on Gender-based Inequality, Violence, and Discrimination

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights: International Posters on Gender-based Inequality, Violence, and Discrimination is an exhibition that features posters created by both men and women to celebrate and acknowledge the vital role that all citizens play in protecting and promoting human rights while challenging gender inequality and stereotypes, advancing reproductive and sexual rights, protecting women and girls against brutality, and promoting women’s empowerment, education, and participation in society. The posters argue for the empowerment of women, achievement of equality between women and men, and the elimination of discrimination against women and girls.

Designer, educator, and AIGA Fellow Sheila Hart reminisces about the significance of bringing the exhibition to Hiram College:

January 20, 2017 was a very important day for me. That was the day I joined an uncounted number of women (and men too) —a million were estimated — to march the streets of Washington DC as an expression of my protest to the treatment of my gender. The media played up the event as a protest toward the incoming administration — and it was — but my message was bigger than that of a politician’s misogynistic behavior. It was an amalgamation of fear and rage, palpable and massive, that had been accumulating over a lifetime. It had festered into a pool of concerns about healthcare, fair wages, equal representation, abortion rights, the abomination of predatory behavior, education reforms, equitable treatment under the law, job opportunities, and more. And that day, I saw my fury expressed. It showed in the handheld signs, in the voices that spoke out, in the chants of the crowds.

And yet, that day was not one of rage. What was present was unity. Being jostled and pulled by a crowd so large, there was much that could have gone wrong, but it didn’t. There was no anger, no rivalry, no push to take the lead. People were standing chest-to-chest, nose-to-nose, unable — literally — to move. Yet room seemed to be found when one more person needed to squeeze in, or when someone needed to pass through in search of a friend. People smiled, they hugged, they gave away pink hats, they passed out signs, they shared jokes and extra bottles of water. They loved. What I learned then, though all seemed unwieldy, was that when we are united, we can be powerful and yet still hold true to kindness and generosity.

That is why this exhibit, Women’s Rights Are Human Rights: International Posters on Gender-based Inequality, Violence and Discrimination is so important to me. It showcases a small sampling of the ways women have had their rights impacted, and it demonstrates how message can be conveyed powerfully and persuasively through visual representation. In expression it speaks the voices of millions and encourages us all to rally for change.

Sheila Hart, AIGA Cleveland Fellow
By Webmaster
Published October 17, 2022