Achievements and Challenges in Gender Equality in International Human Rights Law: The Last Twenty Years

May 3, 2015

This contribution is published as part of the Think Piece Series Let’s “20 years after the Fourth World Conference on Women”, which took place in Beijing in 1995, what has changed for women in the human rights field? There have been many changes in law and policy post-Beijing. Human rights treaty bodies including the Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), have reinforced the message that states have an obligation to both pass laws and ensure compliance. Furthermore, they have noted that states have duties to challenge negative attitudes towards women which are based on gender stereotyping. International and regional courts have taken a more gender-sensitive approach in addressing gender stereotypes especially with respect to violence against women. Given the controversy surrounding the conceptualisation of the term gender at the 1995 conference, the paper concludes by arguing for a more comprehensive reading of the term that embraces gender identity and sexual orientation.

Fareda Banda is Professor of Law at SOAS, University of London where she teaches Human Rights of Women and Family Law.”

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