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Eleanor Roosevelt Speeches

On Gender Neutral Language in the UDHR

Unknown Date


ER discusses the use of gender neutral language in writing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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But I've got to give you-I'm using this document because it is one I am familiar with and it's the same thing and any action you are going to take as in a document you are trying to write. With another thing which illustrated the difference in habits and customs we took from the commission Article One exactly like our own. It said, "All men are created equal" and it came out of Committee Three, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." And why? Why the change of those first words from every man to all human beings? Because we have a good many women in Committee Three who come from nations where they have come up as an individual but where they are very conscience that the great mass of their sisters have no equality at all. And they were the ones who said in this document it is going to be all human beings. Where you say "a man" it is going to be "everyone." Where you say "no man" it's going to be "no one." Because when we go home if it says all men, it will be all men and it won't be all women.


Program Participants

  • : Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced


About this document

On Gender Neutral Language in the UDHR

Unknown Date


Eleanor Roosevelt

Project Editors
  • National Endowment for the Humanities

Eleanor Roosevelt Speeches is a project and publication of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, The George Washington University, Academic Building, Post Hall, Room 312, 2100 Foxhall Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007

Transcript Editors
  • : Lewis, Britanny
  • : Brudos, Meg
  • : Arquette, Arianna
  • : Alhambra, Christopher   [ ORCID: 0000-0002-6299-793X | VIAF ]

Transcribed and published by the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, 2019-11-27

Transcription created from holdings at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library