Bodil Begtrup (born Nov. 12, 1903)

" It is all well for us to talk about raising the status of women; but so many of them live in homes so ill-equipped, kitchens so meagerly planned and furnished, that it is practically impossible for them to find time or energy to take any sort of part in public or community life.... if we want the women of the world to take an active part in the affairs of the world and of their communities, we must do more than give them equal status with men and urge them on to active public life - we must make it possible for them to accept their responsibilities as citizens, to freely, and without anxiety or strain, take their place with men in order to accomplish, jointly, with the men of the world, those great tasks that must be fulfilled if thinking and living on this earth are to transcend to any degree at all the thinking and living it has known so far! " (1946)

Bodil Begtrup was a delegate to the United Nations and chair of the U.N. Status of Women subcommission. She was chair when the first international statement for the Human Rights of Women was adopted in 1946. The original report was a 2,000 word, detailed statement regarding the rights of women world-wide, but the men on the Human Rights Commission (nine men and Eleanor Roosevelt) cut the report back to a few summarizing paragraphs because they thought rights for women infringed on the sovereign rights of individual countries. Eleanor Roosevelt and Bodil Begtrup did manage to get the whole report published eventually.

The report called for an office on women's affairs and an international women's conference. They also sought equal rights with men in all nations and in all fields: civil, education, economics, political and social. Even more modern and controversial was its demand for compulsory free and full education, the abolition of prostitution and the right to divorce.

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