In much of the world, women and girls continue to be denied equal protection under the law. Many suffer appalling violence and confront significant cultural and economic barriers. Discrimination, low access to education, poverty, family pressure and social stigma obstruct their freedom and advancement. Family disputes over inheritance and ownership are often resolved at community or village level, reinforcing traditional hierarchies and excluding women from the decision-making process. Across all of its programs, IDLO works to empower women, with the rule of law both a broad frame of reference and a flexible tool. To achieve this aim, top-down reforms must be coupled with efforts to protect women and promote gender equality. The aim is a justice system which affirms women’s rights and allows their voice to be heard.
IDLO’s Strategy 2020 incorporates gender sensitivity and responsiveness among IDLO’s core values and guiding principles. It emphasizes gender as both a cross-cutting theme in IDLO’s work and the focus of distinct programming, research and advocacy.
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 – means robbing societies of the talent and potential of half of their members.
Overall, the law has failed women. Although governments and the international community have invested heavily in legal systems, in many settings, women still suffer appalling violence and discrimination.