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5 free Online Courses to Promote Women’s Rights

Learn about the pressing human rights issues currently facing women across the world, and the ways in which you can make a difference.

In this article we have compiled a list of free courses with a basis in women’s rights that anyone can take, anywhere in the world. They are taught by well-renowned universities across the globe, and the content is available completely free. Obtaining a certificate may require payment for some courses, but all of the content is accessible free of charge. Each of these courses is taught in English.

International Women’s Health and Human Rights

This course is provided by Stanford University and focuses on women’s rights specifically human rights issues related to women’s health. The course includes topics such as reproductive health, violence against women, poverty, war, refugees and human trafficking, as well as methods of positive intervention. Depending on your time commitment, the course can last for between 8 to 11 weeks, and consists of videos and readings, followed by graded assignments. The assignments consist mostly of quizzes, but there are also two special assignments that take you out to interact with and engage members of your community. This course will give you specialised knowledge on women’s human rights issues, and how they can intersect with other issues.

Understanding Violence Against Women: Myths and Realities

Hosted by the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, this course focuses on the root causes of violence against women, the attitudes that lead to a culture of violence, the principles of gender inequality, and how to challenge such entrenched behaviours that impact women all over the world. Topics covered include: gender, power and violence; media and cultural representations of violence against women; public and professional responses; and national and international approaches to prevention. The course lasts for 6 weeks and consists of 2 hours of weekly study. Content includes articles, videos, peer reviews, and quizzes. This course will give you a deeper understanding of violence against women and its impact on individuals, families, and communities, as well as providing you with a repertoire of strategies for intervention and prevention.

Water for the People: Gender, Human Rights, and Diplomacy

A course provided by Colorado State University will allow you to explore how access to water relates to gender and human rights. For many people around the world, obtaining water is a difficult and time-consuming task, and it is one that usually falls on the shoulders of women and girls. This course will teach you about gender inequality and human rights in relation to water, and the efforts currently being made to improve access to water globally. Topics covered will include things such as why women and girls bear the brunt of water scarcity, whether water is a human right, how globalisation has affected access to water, and how nations can work together to promote access to water. Lasting 3 weeks, the weekly study time is 3 hours, and will consist of articles, videos, peer reviews, and quizzes. This course will allow you to explore the concept of water as a human right, understand how this impacts women across the world, and gain an insight into programmes and policies that can improve access to water.

Gender and Development

This course is offered by Deakin University. It allows you to learn how gender impacts contemporary international and community development. It tackles issues such as how gender intertwines with international development, whether “woman” is the core of gender and development, and looks at the history of women in international development. This course lasts 2 weeks, and involves 3 hours of study each week, consisting of articles, videos, peer reviews, and quizzes. By the end of the course you will be able to explore the concept of gender and how it is an integral part of development, evaluate the concept of development, and assess and investigate the ways in which gender and development can contribute to positive change.

Diversity and Social Justice in Social Work

Provided by the University of Michigan, this course focuses on diversity, human rights, and social justice and injustice. It explores social constructions and powers, how societal power and diversity shape human experience, the intersectionality of multiple factors, the concepts of privilege and oppression, formulations of human rights, and how social injustice and mechanisms of oppression work across the world. Whilst the course looks at a number of different injustices, there is a focus on gender and justice, as well as how different forms of oppression intersect with each other. The course lasts for 8 weeks and consists of 8 to 10 hours of study per week. Upon completion of the course, you will learn skills for working for justice and addressing issues of power and diversity, and an awareness of how to mobilise towards positive change.

Register now for one of these courses, and start building your knowledge and experience, ready for a career in working for and promoting women’s rights.

About the author

Human Rights Careers

Human Rights Careers (HRC) aims to help human rights students, recent graduates and young professionals to pursue a career in the highly competitive field of human rights.