“Women’s participation is a matter of basic human rights and democratic principles. We cannot afford not to include women. This is not simply a question of what benefits women, but of what benefits the whole of society,” Ioana Liana Cazacu, Romanian Secretary of State for Gender Equality, told participants at a roundtable on women, business and the rule of law in New York .
Gender inequality is an affront to human dignity, a challenge to the rule of law and an obstacle to development. Denying women of their rightful place in society – by depriving them of equal access to education, justice or livelihood – means robbing societies of the talent and potential of half of their members. In securing every social need from peace to food, the role of women has been shown to be paramount.
Although gender equality is increasingly a feature of national Constitutions, the law often continues to restrict women's rights and freedoms, dictates their submission to male relatives, or limits what they may own or inherit.
In the past month in Afghanistan:
"Peace and justice cannot exist without a full realization of women's rights," The Hague Deputy Mayor Ingrid K. van Engelshoven told fellow panelists at a roundtable in the city. There was an ever-present need for what she called a 'gender lens'.
It was Valentine’s day – a time for celebrating love and friendship for many - but in Kunduz province Afghanistan, a newly-wed pregnant woman lost her baby, reportedly, in a brutal exorcism carried out by a local mullah.
Today, November 25th, the world marks the International Day for the Eliminate of Violence Against Women.
Roundtable: Justice for Women by Women - Challenges and Opportunities for Women’s Professional Participation in the Justice Sector
March 18, 2014, 1:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Commission on the Status of Women
Conference room 6, NLB (North Lawn Building)
United Nations Headquarters, New York
The Governments of Italy, Ghana, World Food Programme and International Development Law Organization, in collaboration with UN Women, will organize a high-level event under the title on “Feeding the Planet – Empowering Women: The Food and Nutrition Security Challenge”, to support the mainstreaming of gender equality in food and nutrition security.
IDLO's report Women’s Professional Participation in Afghanistan’s Justice Sector: Challenges and Opportunities has been launched in Kabul by the IDLO
Strengthening the domestic violence response in Mongolia
IDLO is implementing a project in Mongolia that aims to strengthen the response to domestic violence and increase access to justice for survivors.
Domestic violence in Mongolia is increasingly recognized as a significant problem. Law enforcement officials report that in 2016 domestic violence cases increased by 25 per cent in the first seven months of the year compared to the previous year. In response, the Government of Mongolia has begun to take legislative and policy steps to improve its response to the issue. While important steps continue to be taken, significant challenges remain.
Over a decade has passed since the end of conflict in Liberia, but incidence of sexual and gender-based violence has not diminished. Numerous studies reveal an extremely high prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence. According to an IDLO study, in 2015 1396 cases were reported to the Montserrado five one-stop clinics alone. Among those cases, 267 were reported to the Women’s and Children’s Protection Section within the Liberia National Police, 119 received an indictment, while only 3 cases went through to trial.
Women in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region, including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia, are significantly affected by considerable inequalities. Discriminatory legal frameworks and neutral laws enforced with underlying biases and stereotypes continue to hold women in the region back from fully participating in society. Crucially, this is also the case in political and other leadership and decision-making positions. Enhancing the contributions of women judges is particularly important as gender justice remains elusive in many aspects.
While women entrepreneurs in Egypt and Jordan contribute greatly to the economic development of their countries, they face a range of legal, social and economic challenges as compared to men in setting up and running their businesses and resolving disputes. Lack of awareness among women entrepreneurs about their legal rights can prevent them from accessing legal avenues to help settle their claims, and lack of gender sensitivity among justice actors in the implementation of business and economic laws might lead to unintended biased decisions that adversely affect women-owned businesses.
Tunisia is regarded as a leader in the region, and even globally, on progressive gender legislation and initiatives, including on women’s participation in all aspects of public life. The 2014 Constitution upholds the principles of equality of rights and duties between men and women, and confirmed the obligation of the State to protect and strengthen women’s gains and their equal representation in senior positions and in elected bodies. However, operationalizing the constitutional mandate in the justice sector remains challenging.
Adolescent girls and young women account for 71 percent of new HIV infections among young people in sub-Saharan Africa. They are more vulnerable to HIV because they are often subjected to a range of gender and age based biases, discrimination and violence, including sexual assault, forced marriage and trafficking. Despite growing HIV-related responses, they and their communities most often do not have the capacity, voice and power to hold these service providers accountable for improved delivery of quality HIV-related services.
Despite having reached satisfactory standards of democracy and improved the respect for human rights, Mongolia faces some serious issues in addressing high levels of domestic violence against women. Mechanisms and services for protection of and support to victims of domestic violence are still very limited. A lack of training, procedural guidelines and inter-agency coordination between justice sector actors often creates obstacles for victims and hinders an efficient response to domestic abuse.
While Tunisia has long served as a regional model of women’s rights, actual implementation of the Constitution’s provisions on women’s rights and the eradication of all forms of gender-based violence (GBV) remains a challenge.
In Burundi, land tenure registration is the primary way for the government to deal with the large number of land disputes across the country. A series of pilot programs aimed at resolving land rights issues have been initiated in recent years. To date, however, it is unclear whether these pilot programs have had their intended effect of reducing the number of land disputes.
In June 2015, IDLO commenced the project: Researching the Impact of Land Tenure Registration on Land Disputes and Women’s Land Rights in Burundi.
Land Tenure Registration (LTR) programs involve issuing proof of ownership to holders of land rights to increase their legal certainty. Such programs are undertaken for a variety of reasons. While much is known about the impact of LTR on factors like access to credit and agricultural output, there is a gap in knowledge of its impact on land disputes, particularly in post-conflict settings.
Mongolia has formally joined IDLO, the latest stage in an expanding partnership for the advancement the rule of law. The first communist-ruled nation outside the Soviet Union, Mongolia has over the last two decades built a democracy that is untypical of its region. But for all the efforts of its political class and civil society, it has some way to go to improve governance, enhance access to justice, and reduce inequality.
IDLO is working with the Government of Kenya to advance gender equality across the country and enact gender provisions contained in the Constitution. Since 2013, IDLO has partnered to enhance the capacity of the Government of Kenya to mainstream gender at both the national and county levels. IDLO’s support included strategic policy development, critical legislative review, expert technical advice, and institutional strengthening.
While the new Constitution of Kenya, 2010 provides for the right of every Kenyan to access justice, its implementation is vital to strengthen and support the changes required for a better Kenya. IDLO is supporting the Kenyan Government to implement the Constitution in an effective, efficient and sustainable manner, in accordance with international standards and best practices. This is being done with a view to enhancing access to justice for Kenyans, especially for women, children and other vulnerable populations.