The last two decades following the Beijing Platform of Action have seen a proliferation of laws that address gender equality in intersecting areas of women’s political and economic participation, violence against women, equal pay for equal work, family relations, reproductive rights, land and property rights, and access to services.
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.
Mosooma* is 29 years old, and the only woman in a group of two dozen civil and commercial law instructors working for the Government and Bar Association in Afghanistan.
The rolling hills of Burundi, or collines, represent the heart of its rural society. Burundi has a growing population and one of the highest population densities in Africa, yet 90% of its nine million inhabitants live in rural areas and many rely on subsistence farming for food.
We live in a world of abundance, yet ensuring food security remains challenging. Women are responsible for more than half of global food production. Yet they account for 70 per cent of the world’s hungry and are disproportionately affected by malnutrition.
To mark International Women’s Day, IDLO would like to celebrate the work of Dr. Alicia Beatriz Pucheta, President of the Supreme Court of Justice, President of the Criminal Chamber of Paraguay, and Minister in Charge of the Human Rights Directorate and of the Gender Secretary of the Supreme Court.
Kenya finds itself at an opportune moment to advance gender equality. The country’s new constitution, adopted in 2010, expanded the Bill of Rights including for the first time provisions on economic, social and cultural rights.
Adolescent girls and young women account for 71 percent of new HIV infections among young people in sub-Saharan Africa. Uganda reflects this disproportionality, with HIV prevalence among young people aged 15-24 estimated at 4.2% for women but only 2.4% for men.
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.