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2011–2012               IN PURSUIT OF            JUSTICE
Report team                                             UN WomenLaura Turquet (Lead Author and Report Manager)          Mi...
2011–2012UN Women is the United Nations organization                 IN PURSUIT OF                                        ...
Foreword from Ban Ki-moon                                                                   Secretary-General of the Unite...
Foreword from Michelle BacheletUnder-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN WomenAs the first major UN Women report,...
Contents: In Pursuit of JusticePart I: Making Justice Systems Work for WomenIntroduction                                  ...
Chapter 2: The Justice Chain                                                                                              ...
Contents: In Pursuit of JusticeChapter 4: Justice for Women During and After Conflict                                     ...
Ten Recommendations to Make Justice Systems Work for Women1. Support women’s legal organizations ............................
Part I: Making Justice Systems Work for WomenIntroductionIn 1911, women were allowed to vote in just two countries of the ...
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)     CEDAW is an international treat...
What does justice mean for women?                                     Justice is an ideal that has resonated throughout hi...
The views of these women show that when it comes to            responsive justice system. Like the woman in Rwanda,       ...
International law makes              down due to lack of capacity in the justice system and          commonly adjudicated ...
The chapter draws on CEDAW to lay out a three-part            Chapter 3: Legal Pluralism and Justice for Womenreform agend...
Addressing underlying gender inequalities through           conflict moment to fundamentally reshape society in           ...
Funding for women’s access to justiceMaking justice systems work for women – whether through catalysing legal reform, or s...
Balancing the Scales:     Groundbreaking Legal Cases that have Changed Women’s Lives     Women who refuse to stay silent i...
When a husband rapes                                                                         Women have the right to behis...
It is not enough to have laws in place, they must be implemented     Şahide Goekce (deceased) v Austria and               ...
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
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Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
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Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
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Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
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Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
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Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
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Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
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Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice
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Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice

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The 2011 report is a global survey of women’s access to justice – looking both at legislation passed by governments and the steps taken (or not taken) to implement those laws. The “paradox” confronted by the report is that despite the recent and rapid expansion of women’s legal entitlements, what is written in the statute books does not always translate into real progress on equality and justice on the ground.

The report looks at which countries have passed special legislation on women’s political rights and economic opportunities and on women’s reproductive health and rights. It looks at which countries have laws against domestic violence, sexual harassment and marital rape. It catalog data on development indicators related to women, and looks country-by-country at women’s participation in politics.

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  1. 1. 2011–2012 IN PURSUIT OF JUSTICE
  2. 2. Report team UN WomenLaura Turquet (Lead Author and Report Manager) Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN WomenPapa Seck (Statistics and Data) Inés Alberdi, former Executive Director, UNIFEM (now part of UN Women)Ginette Azcona (Statistics and Data) John Hendra, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy and Programmes, UN WomenRoshni Menon (Research and Writing) Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General for Intergovernmental Support and Strategic Partnerships, UN WomenCaitlin Boyce (Research and Legal Specialist) Joanne Sandler, Deputy Director, UN WomenNicole Pierron (Editing, Production and Coordination) Moez Doraid, Deputy Director, UN WomenEmma Harbour (Communications)Additional research and writing Progress advisory group UN Women regional staffCassandra Balchin (Co-author of Chapter 3) Kripa Ananthpur, Cassandra Balchin, Christine Dena Assaf, Petra Burcikova, Florence Butegwa,Tanja Chopra Bell, Susana Chiarotti, Tanja Chopra, Radhika Roberta Clarke, Elizabeth Cox, Amarsanaa Darisuren,Megan Dersnah Coomaraswamy, Shanthi Dairiam, Diane Elson, Veronica Dos Anjos, Simone Ellis Oluoch-Olunya,Annie Kelly (Gender Justice and the MDGs) Michelo Hansungule, Ayesha Imam, Imrana Jalal, Nuria Felipesoria, Jebbeh Forster, Ana GüezmesVeronica Minaya Nicholas Menzies, Rabea Naciri, Francesca Perucci, García, Marie Goretti Nduwayo, SteinunnNahla Valji (Co-author of Chapter 4) Laure-Hélène Piron, Sapana Pradhan Malla, Yüksel Gudjonsdottir, Maxime Houinato, Sagipa Jusaeva,Ismene Zarifis Sezgin, Yasmine Sherif, Rachel Sieder, Dubravka Sushma Kapoor, Wenny Kusuma, Erika Kvapilova, Šimonović, Joan Winship. Elizabeth Lwanga, Sheelagh Kathy Mangones,Production Nomcebo Manzini, Maya Morsy, Nisha, JosephineBéatrice Frey (Production Manager) Additional information and advice provided by: Odera, Diana L. Ofwona, Moni Pizani, Junia Puglia,Elana Dallas (Editor) Carlotta Aiello, Cathi Albertyn, Kelly Askin, Pieter Leila Rhiwi, Rocío Rodríguez Martínez, LucíaEmily Newman (Notes and References) Bakker, Karen Campbell-Nelson, Rea Chiongson, Salamea Palacios, Damira Sartbaeva, DagmarSue Ackerman and Ilene Bellovin (Photo Research) Debra DeLaet, Valérie Gaveau, Jean-Yves Hamel, Schumacher, Alice Harding Shackelford, Anne Kenneth Harttgen, Brigid Inder, Shelley Inglis, Stenhammer, Rebecca Reichmann Tavares,UN Women communications team Kareen Jabre, Naina Kapur, Stephan Klasen, Milorad Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun.Nanette Braun, Oisika Chakrabarti, Jean Forbes, Kovacevic, Steven Malby, Eusebia Munuo, JessicaBéatrice Frey, Eduardo Gómez, Jaya Jiwatram, Neuwirth, Lisa Noor Humaidah, Catherine Pierce, We also acknowledge and thank colleagues fromYvans Joseph, Gretchen Luchsinger, Adina Wolf. Helen Scanlon, Theodoor Sparreboom, Patrick Vinck, across the United Nations system for their work on Matthew Zurstrassen. women’s access to justice, including members of theWritten contributions Secretary-General’s Rule of Law Coordination andThis volume of Progress benefited from a range of Acknowledgements Resource Group (RoLCRG).written contributions, including background papers, We thank everyone who has been involved in thiscase studies and research notes. We acknowledge volume of Progress and we wish to note in particular Financial supportwith particular gratitude the following contributors: the following contributions: All of UN Women’s supporters have played their part insofar as funding for this volume of ProgressBackground papers and case studies UN Women headquarters staff was drawn in part from the core budget to whichSara Bailey; Cassandra Balchin; Malika Benradi Gladys Acosta, Nisreen Alami, María José Alcalá, they contribute. We owe very particular thanks toand Abdellah Ounnir; Anne Goldstein; Maria Nassali; Melissa Alvarado, Gabriela Alvarez, Christine Arab, the Government of Spain, whose generous supportCecilia Sardenberg, Márcia Gomes, Wânia Pasinato Meryem Aslan, Christine Brautigam, Sunita Caminha, facilitated additional research and dissemination thatand Márcia Tavares; Jacqueline Sealy-Burke; Yüksel Pablo Castillo Diaz, Letty Chiwara, Jennifer Cooper, would not otherwise have been possible.Sezgin; Rachel Sieder and Mária Teresa Sierra; Hanny Cueva Beteta, Nazneen Damji, Jean D’Cunha,Karen Stefiszyn; Ritu Verma and Maggie Banda; Dina Deligiorgis, Rachel Dore-Weeks, Sarah Douglas, DesignLee Waldorf. Inyang Ebong-Harstrup, Anne Eyrignoux, Sally Fegan- Maskar Design Wyles, Anne Marie Goetz, Wendy Isaack, Karen Judd,Background notes Vilhelm Klareskov, Tolulope Lewis-Tamoka, Fatou Lo, PrinterMariela Belski and Alvaro Herrero; Megan Dersnah; Zina Mounla, Adriana Quinones, Tracy Raczek, Consolidated GraphicsSohail Warraich. Vivek Rai, Socorro Reyes, Limon Bade Rodriguez, Gülden Turkoz-Cosslett, Lee Waldorf.
  3. 3. 2011–2012UN Women is the United Nations organization IN PURSUIT OF JUSTICEdedicated to gender equality and the empowermentof women. A global champion for women and girls,UN Women was established to accelerate progress onmeeting their rights worldwide.UN Women supports United Nations Member Statesas they set global standards for achieving genderequality, and works with governments and civil societyto design laws, policies, programmes and servicesneeded to implement these standards. It standsbehind women’s equal participation in all aspectsof life, focusing on five priority areas: increasingwomen’s leadership and participation; endingviolence against women; engaging women in allaspects of peace and security processes; enhancingwomen’s economic empowerment; and makinggender equality central to national developmentplanning and budgeting. UN Women also coordinatesand promotes the United Nations system’s work inadvancing gender equality.View the Report at:http://progress.unwomen.orgThe views expressed in this publication are thoseof the authors and do not necessarily represent theviews of UN Women, the United Nations or any of itsaffiliated organizations. The boundaries and namesshown and the designations used on the maps in thisreport do not imply official endorsement or acceptanceby the United Nations.For a list of any errors or omissions found subsequentto printing please visit our website.© UN Women 2011 Progress of the World’s Women | 1
  4. 4. Foreword from Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General of the United Nations It is fitting that this edition of Progress of the World’s This edition of Progress of the World’s Women examines Women, with its focus on justice, is being published the injustice that far too many women endure. It also in the first year of the life of UN Women. The highlights how essential it is to see women as far more international community set up this important new than victims, but as agents of change. The report’s agency in affirmation of a simple fact: achieving comprehensive statistics, compelling stories and keen women’s equality is a fundamental human right and analysis combine to offer a sound basis for action. a social and economic imperative. I commend it to all people who care about building a world of equality, opportunity and justice for all. Justice is central to the effort to help women become equal partners in decision-making and development. Without justice, women are disenfranchised, Credit: Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo disempowered and denied their rightful place. But with sound legal and justice systems, women can flourish and contribute to the advancement of society as a whole, Ban Ki-moon including by helping to improve those very same systems for future generations – daughters and sons alike.2 | Progress of the World’s Women
  5. 5. Foreword from Michelle BacheletUnder-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN WomenAs the first major UN Women report, this edition of I am privileged to be the first Executive Director ofProgress of the World’s Women reminds us of the UN Women, an agency that was created because ofremarkable advances that have been made over the the growing recognition that women are central topast century in the quest for gender equality and development, peace and security goals and that equalitywomen’s empowerment. Even within one generation for woman and girls lies at the heart of achieving thewe have witnessed a transformation in women’s legal Millennium Development Goals. For UN Women to meetrights, which means that today, 125 countries have the expectations that spurred its creation it must inspireoutlawed domestic violence, 115 guarantee equal all of our partners – including governments, Unitedproperty rights and women’s voice in decision-making Nations agencies and non-governmental organizationsis stronger than ever before. Today, 28 countries have – with concrete and replicable examples of how changereached or surpassed the 30 percent mark for women’s happens to expand women’s access to justice.representation in parliament, putting women in the Credit: Marco Castro/UN Photodriving seat to forge further change. This edition of Progress of the World’s Women builds on the work of colleagues across the United NationsProgress of the World’s Women 2011–2012: In Pursuit system in highlighting women’s part in strengtheningof Justice shows that where laws and justice systems the rule of law and outlines a vision for the futurework well, they can provide an essential mechanism in which women and men, worldwide, can workfor women to realize their human rights. However, it side-by-side to make gender equality and women’salso underscores the fact that, despite widespread empowerment a reality.guarantees of equality, the reality for many millions ofwomen is that justice remains out of reach.The report highlights the practical barriers thatwomen – particularly the poorest and most excluded –face in negotiating justice systems and the innovative Michelle Bacheletapproaches that governments and civil society arepioneering to overcome them. It explores the ways inwhich women are reconciling guarantees of their rightswith the realities of living within plural legal systems. Andit highlights the severe challenges that women face inaccessing justice in the aftermath of conflict, as well asthe enormous opportunities for change that can emergein these most difficult times. Foreword | 3
  6. 6. Contents: In Pursuit of JusticePart I: Making Justice Systems Work for WomenIntroduction 8The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms Making justice systems work for women ................................................... 12of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) .................................................. 9 Gender justice and the Millennium Development Goals ............................... 14What does justice mean for women? ......................................................... 10 Funding for women’s access to justice ...................................................... 15Does the rule of law rule women out? ....................................................... 11Balancing the Scales: Groundbreaking Legal Cases that have Changed Women’s Lives 16When a husband rapes his wife, it is a crime ............................................. 17 Customary inheritance laws must comply with guarantees of equality ......... 19 Meera Dhungana on behalf of FWLD v HMG Bhe v Khayelitsha MagistrateWomen have the right to be free from sexual Discriminatory citizenship laws are incompatibleharassment in the workplace .................................................................... 17 with constitutional guarantees of equality .................................................. 20 Vishaka v State of Rajasthan Unity Dow v Attorney General of the Republic of BotswanaIt is not enough to have laws in place, they must be implemented ............... 18 Women have the right to an abortion in certain circumstances ................... 20 Şahide Goekce (deceased) v Austria and Fatma Yildirim (deceased) v Austria Judgment of the Constitutional Court of Colombia Maria da Penha Fernandes v Brazil Sexual violence is a tactic of war and a war crime ...................................... 21Intersectional discrimination can be challenged ......................................... 19 Prosecutor v Tadić; Prosecutor v Furundžija; Prosecutor v Kunarac et al.; Prosecutor Lovelace v Canada v Akayesu; Prosecutor v Delalic; and Prosecutor v Krstic Reparations for violence against women must be ‘transformative’ ............... 21 Gonzalez and others (‘Cotton Field’) v MexicoChapter 1: Legal Frameworks 22Case study: Nepal .................................................................................... 22 F I G U R ESIntroduction ............................................................................................. 24 Display: Women in parliaments and legal reform ................................. 26Ending explicit legal discrimination against women..................................... 28 Figure 1.1: Legal restrictions on women’s right to work ............................ 28Extending the protection of the rule of law ................................................. 32 Figure 1.2: Laws on age of marriage and incidence of early marriage........ 29 Violence against women and girls........................................................ 32 Figure 1.3: Laws prohibiting consensual homosexual acts Women workers in informal and vulnerable employment ....................... 35 between adults, by region...................................................... 30Ensuring government responsibility for the impact of the law ...................... 37 Figure 1.4: Perceptions of domestic violence ........................................... 32 Substantive equality for women in formal employment .......................... 37 Figure 1.5: Laws on violence against women ........................................... 33 Implementing laws on land rights ........................................................ 39 Figure 1.6: Prevalence, laws and perceptions of domestic violence ........... 34 The impact of laws on sexual and reproductive health and rights ........... 42 Figure 1.7: Employment in Export Processing Zones (EPZs), by sex ........... 35Conclusion .............................................................................................. 45 Figure 1.8: Domestic workers and social security legislation, by region...... 36 Figure 1.9: Women’s rights to property ownership and inheritance, by region .............................................................................. 39MAPS Figure 1.10: Maternal mortality and unsafe abortion, by region ................... 42Map 1.1: Women’s land rights .................................................................. 40 B O XES Box 1.1: Women writing rights into the constitution ................................ 25 Box 1.2: Turkish women’s campaign for reform....................................... 31 Box 1.3: Legislating to end violence against women and girls ................... 34 Box 1.4: Equal pay for work of equal value .............................................. 38 Box 1.5: Rwanda’s women legislators lead the way ................................. 41 Box 1.6: Establishing women’s legal right to reproductive health .............. 434 | Progress of the World’s Women
  7. 7. Chapter 2: The Justice Chain 46Case study: Bulgaria ................................................................................ 46 F I G U R ESIntroduction ............................................................................................. 50 Display: Navigating the justice chain .................................................... 48Barriers to women accessing justice ......................................................... 52 Figure 2.1: Incidence and reporting of robbery and sexual assault .............. 50 Social barriers ................................................................................... 52 Figure 2.2: Rape case attrition in a sample of European countries .............. 51 Institutional barriers .......................................................................... 53 Figure 2.3: Women’s autonomy in the household ...................................... 53Making the justice chain gender-responsive .............................................. 56 Figure 2.4: Women in the police and reporting of sexual assault................. 59 Changing organizational mandates and procedures .............................. 56 Figure 2.5: Women’s representation in the justice system .......................... 60 One-stop shops and legal aid ............................................................. 57 Figure 2.6: Women’s representation in supreme, constitutional Specialized courts .............................................................................. 58 and regional courts................................................................. 61 Gender-responsive policing and judicial decision-making ..................... 59 B O XESConclusion .............................................................................................. 63 Box 2.1: Tackling ‘rape myths’ in the Philippines ....................................... 55 Box 2.2: Realizing land rights in Kyrgyzstan ............................................... 56 Box 2.3: Thuthuzela Care Centres in South Africa ...................................... 57 Box 2.4 Women’s police stations and special courts in Brazil ...................... 58 Box 2.5: Women in prison ........................................................................ 62Chapter 3: Legal Pluralism and Justice for Women 64Case study: Ecuador ................................................................................ 64 F I G U R ESIntroduction ............................................................................................. 66 Figure 3.1: Women’s contact with community leadersUnderstanding legal pluralism ................................................................... 67 and government officials.......................................................... 66Women’s access to justice and legal pluralism .......................................... 68 Figure 3.2: Reservations to CEDAW........................................................... 69 Elements of discrimination within plural legal systems .......................... 69 Figure 3.3: Plural legal systems and inheritance ........................................ 70 Practical barriers to women pursuing justice in plural legal systems ...... 70 Challenges in reforming plural legal systems ....................................... 72 B O XESStrategies for change ............................................................................... 73 Box 3.1: Questioning assumptions about plural legal systems ..................... 73 Legal empowerment to help women navigate and Box 3.2: Women’s access to religious courts in Indonesia .......................... 75 shape plural legal systems.................................................................. 74 Box 3.3: Progressive reinterpretation of religious laws in Nigeria ................. 76 Catalysing reform in plural legal systems ............................................. 75 Box 3.4: Women shaping indigenous courts in Mexico ............................... 78 Progressive change from within .......................................................... 76 Dialogues to advance women’s rights ................................................ 77Conclusion .............................................................................................. 79 Contents | 5
  8. 8. Contents: In Pursuit of JusticeChapter 4: Justice for Women During and After Conflict 80Case study: Liberia .................................................................................. 80 Figure 4.3: Women judges in international courts....................................... 92Introduction ............................................................................................. 82 Figure 4.4: Women’s and men’s perceptions of why reparationsThe impact of conflict on women .............................................................. 83 are important in the Central African Republic ............................ 99Advances in international law.................................................................... 85 Figure 4.5: Women’s and men’s views on what kind of reparations are needed in the Central African Republic ............................... 99 Increasing prosecutions and closing the impunity gap ........................... 90 Figure 4.6: Laws and policies on gender equality and women’s Strengthening national justice systems ................................................ 92 representation in parliaments in sub-Saharan Africa................ 100 Community justice mechanisms .......................................................... 93Beyond prosecutions: Transformative justice.............................................. 94 TA B L ES Truth commissions ............................................................................. 95 Table 4.1: Prosecutions for sexual violence in international courts ............. 90 Reparations........................................................................................ 97 Women’s participation in rebuilding the post-conflict State.................. 100 B O XESConclusion ............................................................................................ 101 Box 4.1: Documenting violations during and after conflict: The Waki Commission in Kenya ............................................... 85FIGURE S Box 4.2: United Nations Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security.................................................................. 87Display: Women, conflict and international law ...................................... 88 Box 4.3: Mobile courts delivering justice for women ............................... 93Figure 4.1: Violations reported to the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission, by sex .................................... 83 Box 4.4: Demanding accountability: Women’s tribunals .......................... 96Figure 4.2: Convictions at the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Box 4.5: Reparative justice for the women of Songo Mboyo..................... 98 International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia............ 91Part II: Gender Justice and the Millennium Development GoalsMDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger ........................................ 104 Figure 5.5: Women’s representation in political decision-making ............ 108MDG 2: Achieve universal primary education ........................................... 106 Figure 5.6: Secondary school attendance rates for girlsMDG 3: Promote gender equality and empower women ........................... 108 in urban rich and rural poor households ............................... 109MDG 4: Reduce child mortality................................................................ 110 Figure 5.7: Under-five mortality rate, by region (deaths per 1,000 live births) .............................................. 110MDG 5: Improve maternal health............................................................. 112 Figure 5.8: Sex ratios at birth, for countries withMDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases ............................. 114 large female deficits (1980–2010) ...................................... 111MDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability ............................................ 116 Figure 5.9: Skilled attendance at delivery,MDG 8: Develop a global partnership for development.............................. 117 urban rich and rural poor women ......................................... 112 Figure 5.10: Barriers to women accessing health care, in selectedFIGURE S countries with high rates of maternal mortality ..................... 113Figure 5.1: Ratio of women to men of working age in the Figure 5.11: Women who reported not being able to ask their poorest households in sub-Saharan Africa ........................... 104 husband/partner to use a condom ....................................... 114Figure 5.2: Proportion of the workforce in agriculture and Figure 5.12: Discrimination reported by people living with HIV in China ..... 115 unpaid family work, by sex .................................................. 105 Figure 5.13: Proportion of National Adaptation ProgrammesFigure 5.3: Primary school adjusted net enrolment rates, of Action (NAPAs) that mention women, by sector................. 116 by region and sex ............................................................... 106 Figure 5.14: Official Development Assistance (ODA) forFigure 5.4: Share of the population aged 17 to 22 women’s equality organizations and institutions.................... 117 with fewer than 4 years of schooling .................................... 1076 | Progress of the World’s Women
  9. 9. Ten Recommendations to Make Justice Systems Work for Women1. Support women’s legal organizations .............................................................................................................................................................................1182. Support one-stop shops and specialized services to reduce attrition in the justice chain....................................................................................................1193. Implement gender-sensitive law reform .........................................................................................................................................................................1194. Use quotas to boost the number of women legislators.....................................................................................................................................................1195. Put women on the front line of law enforcement .............................................................................................................................................................1206. Train judges and monitor decisions................................................................................................................................................................................1207. Increase women’s access to courts and truth commissions during and after conflict.........................................................................................................1208. Implement gender-responsive reparations programmes ..................................................................................................................................................1219. Invest in women’s access to justice ...............................................................................................................................................................................12110. Put gender equality at the heart of the Millennium Development Goals .............................................................................................................................121AnnexesAnnex 1: Women’s political rights ........................................................... 122 Endnotes ............................................................................................... 146Annex 2: Women’s economic opportunities ............................................. 126 References ............................................................................................ 150Annex 3: Women’s reproductive health and rights.................................... 130Annex 4: Violence against women ........................................................... 134Annex 5: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) ................................ 138Annex 6: Selected global resolutions, conventions and agreements on women’s rights ................................................. 142Annex 7: Regional groupings .................................................................. 144 Contents | 7
  10. 10. Part I: Making Justice Systems Work for WomenIntroductionIn 1911, women were allowed to vote in just two countries of the world. Today, a century later, that right is virtually universal.1 During thistime, women have continuously expanded their political rights so that, at the time of writing, 28 countries have reached or exceeded the30 percent critical mass mark for women in parliament and 19 women are currently serving as elected Heads of State or Government.2Alongside women’s greater political influence, there has been a growing recognition of women’s rights, not only political and civil, butalso economic, social and cultural. To date, 186 Member States worldwide have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms ofDiscrimination against Women (CEDAW), which entered into force in 1981, signalling their commitment to fulfilling the human rights ofwomen and girls and breaking down the barriers to achieving gender equality and justice.3 Greater economic empowerment for women has been women report experiencing violence in their lifetimes, achieved through progressive legislation that has usually at the hands of an intimate partner. Meanwhile, prohibited discriminatory practices, guaranteed equal the systematic targeting of women for brutal sexual pay, provided for maternity and paternity leave, and violence is a hallmark of modern conflicts.6 put in place protection against sexual harassment in the workplace. Governments have turned their back on Pervasive discrimination against women creates major the idea that violence against women is a private affair, hurdles to achieving rights and hinders progress on all with laws in every region now outlawing this scourge of the Millennium Development Goals – the benchmarks in its many manifestations. Legislation prohibiting that the international community has set to eradicate discrimination based on sex with respect to inheritance extreme poverty – from improving maternal health, to and citizenship, laws that guarantee equality within the achieving universal education and halting the spread of family and policies to ensure that women and girls can HIV and AIDS. access services including health and education have also contributed to significant advances in women’s standard This volume of Progress of the World’s Women starts with of living. a paradox: the past century has seen a transformation in women’s legal rights, with countries in every region And yet, while examples of countries making immense expanding the scope of women’s legal entitlements. strides in promoting gender equality abound, in many Nevertheless, for most of the world’s women the laws more, women continue to be deprived of economic that exist on paper do not always translate into equality resources and access to public services. All too often, and justice. In many contexts, in rich and poor countries women are denied control over their bodies, denied a alike, the infrastructure of justice – the police, the courts voice in decision-making, and denied protection from and the judiciary – is failing women, which manifests violence. Some 600 million women, more than half the itself in poor services and hostile attitudes from the world’s working women, are in vulnerable employment, very people whose duty it is to fulfil women’s rights. As trapped in insecure jobs, often outside the purview of a result, although equality between women and men is labour legislation.4 In the developing world, more than guaranteed in the constitutions of 139 countries and one third of women are married before the age of 18, territories, inadequate laws and loopholes in legislative missing out on education and exposed to the risks of early frameworks, poor enforcement and vast implementation pregnancy.5 Despite major progress on legal frameworks gaps make these guarantees hollow promises, having at national, regional and international levels, millions of little impact on the day-to-day lives of women.78 | Progress of the World’s Women
  11. 11. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) CEDAW is an international treaty adopted by the United Nations out comprehensive reviews of legislation and constitutions, to ensure General Assembly to protect and promote women’s rights. Since that the entire legal framework supports gender equality. For States entering into force in 1981, the legally binding treaty has been parties to the Convention, removing discriminatory laws is just the ratified by 186 United Nations Member States (see Annex 5). first step. To achieve substantive equality, governments are also responsible for the impact of laws, which means tailoring legislation The Convention lays out a clear definition of what constitutes to respond to the realities of women’s lives. discrimination against women and sets out a comprehensive agenda for achieving gender equality. It recognizes that as a result of historic CEDAW calls on governments to legislate to regulate the private as discrimination, women do not start on an equal footing to men well as the public domain, which includes extending protection to and therefore formally equal laws may produce unequal outcomes women against family violence. The Convention is clear that where for women. Instead, the Convention is based on the concept of plural legal systems exist, States remain responsible for the impacts substantive equality, which focuses on the outcomes and impacts of of all laws and must maintain oversight to ensure that women are not laws and policies. discriminated against. The key elements of CEDAW that establish the definition and Countries that have ratified the Convention are committed to implications of substantive equality are: submitting national reports, at least every four years, on measures they have taken to comply with their treaty obligations. Furthermore, • iscrimination is defined as any act that has ‘the effect or purpose’ D under CEDAW’s Optional Protocol, ratified by 100 countries, the of impairing women’s equal enjoyment of their rights (article 1). CEDAW Committee, the Convention’s monitoring body, is given the • tates must pursue a policy of eliminating discrimination by ‘all S authority to consider a State’s compliance with the Convention. Under appropriate means’. This includes not just repealing discriminatory the inquiry procedure, the CEDAW Committee can initiate and conduct laws, but also ensuring that no action or practice of the State – or investigations on large-scale and widespread violations of women’s of any private ‘person, organization or enterprise’ – discriminates rights occurring within the jurisdiction of a State party. Under the against women (article 2). Protocol’s communication procedure, individual citizens of a State party can make a complaint regarding violations of rights protected • tates shall take ‘all appropriate measures’ in ‘all fields’ to ensure S under the Convention directly to the Committee. The jurisprudence women’s full advancement and the equal enjoyment of their rights of the Committee has developed primarily through the decisions (article 3). published in response to individual communications, in which the • Temporary special measures’, such as quotas, shall not be ‘ Committee makes a ruling on any violation of CEDAW and suggests considered a form of discrimination, because their ultimate goal is protective, corrective and anti-discriminatory remedies that the State to achieve gender equality (article 4). should provide in order to rectify it. • tates must take ‘all appropriate measures’ to change social S A number of cases taken under the communication procedure of the and cultural patterns of conduct, and eliminate prejudices and Optional Protocol have established States’ duties to exercise ‘due customary practices based on stereotypes or ideas about the diligence’ in the implementation of laws through providing gender- inferiority of women (article 5).8 responsive governance and functioning justice systems that meet The Convention requires governments to incorporate CEDAW’s women’s rights (see Balancing the Scales). definition of substantive equality into their legal framework and carryWell-functioning legal and justice systems can provide Laws and justice systems have been the focus ofa vital mechanism for women to achieve their rights. women’s activism because women have recognized bothLaws and justice systems shape society, by providing their potential and their current failings. Where laws areaccountability, by stopping the abuse of power and by missing or discriminatory and the infrastructure of justicecreating new norms about what is acceptable. The courts is broken, access to justice must mean more than simplyhave been a critical site of accountability for individual helping women to access existing justice systems. Thiswomen to claim rights, and in rare cases, to affect wider edition of Progress of the World’s Women underscoreschange for all women through strategic litigation (see that laws and justice systems that are biased againstBalancing the Scales). women’s interests and reinforce unequal power relations between women and men, must themselves be transformed in order to fulfil the potential they hold for accelerating progress towards gender equality. Introduction | 9
  12. 12. What does justice mean for women? Justice is an ideal that has resonated throughout history, across all societies and cultures. But what is justice? When it comes to defining justice, women have a range of perceptions, closely linked to the injustices they see and experience around them. Justice may be collectively desired, but it is individually experienced. A woman in Kalangala in ‘Sometimes, we are seriously wronged by other people, usually men. Uganda describes the barriers Men beat us or abuse us sexually…If you try to pursue a case to the she faces in accessing justice. Kalangala Police Station, no single boat owner will allow you to use their boat or engine to go. They always protect their fellow rich and powerful. In any case, even this means raising money for fuel and hire of a boat and the engine. In the end, you simply give up and suffer quietly.’9 A woman in Scotland in the ‘What would I like to see happen, to change this whole unjust, unfair and United Kingdom of Great Britain unlawful situation? Well it all comes down to accountability. There seems and Northern Ireland (United to be none. There is no accountability for the employers who spend millions Kingdom) describes her pursuit of pounds defending rightful equal pay claims. There is no accountability of a decent wage for her work for employers to recognize the real skills that are required and used in low as a teaching assistant. She paid women’s jobs such as mine, because of the mindset that I do this work is paid an annual salary of because I am a woman and it is unskilled “woman’s work”. I love my job but approximately US$15,600. it is not, nor should it be, a labour of love.’10 Road workers, who are usually men, employed by the same local council earn $30,000. A woman who survived the ‘I’m all alone. My relatives were killed in a horrible fashion. But I survived, 1994 genocide in Rwanda to answer the strange questions that were asked by the ICTR [International describes her experience of Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda]. If you say you were raped, that is something seeking justice. understandable. How many times do you need to say it?...When I returned, everyone knew I had testified. My fiancé refused to marry me once he knew I had been raped…Today I would not accept to testify, to be traumatized for a second time. No one apologized to me…My house was attacked. My fiancé has left me. In any case, I am already dead.’11 A young woman, from South ‘Girls are always treated with injustice. They have marriage imposed on them Shooneh, Jordan describes her by the age of 16. But men are allowed to get their education and can work perception of injustice. any place they want. There are families here who will not even allow their daughters to go to the community centre.’1210 | Progress of the World’s Women
  13. 13. The views of these women show that when it comes to responsive justice system. Like the woman in Rwanda, When it comes to justice,justice, women want a range of things: like the woman in whose experience of testifying in court reinforced the women have a rangeJordan, who perceives injustice as not being able to make stigma and shame she faced, they want an end to of perceptions, closelychoices about who to marry and about her own education impunity for the crimes they are subjected to and theyand freedom of movement, they want to exercise want the process of seeking justice to be dignified and linked to the injusticesautonomy over their lives, to have equal opportunities empowering. they see and experiencewith their male peers. Like the woman in Scotland, who around them.condemns what she sees as the illegitimate use of the These women may have differing views of what justicejustice system by her employers to deny her a decent means, but they all have in common the view thatwage, they want fair reward for the work that they do and currently the law and justice systems are not working forfor the justice system to implement the laws that are on them. Governments and donors have invested millions inthe books. Like the woman in Uganda, who perceives that reforming legal frameworks, in building court rooms andmen act together in pursuit of their collective interests to training justice providers, to strengthen the rule of law. Sodeny her access to justice, they want an accessible and why is it not working for women?Does the rule of law rule women out?The rule of law, a cornerstone of good governance and democracy, requires that laws are in place tohold everyone to account, from the individual up to the government. It requires that laws are ‘publiclypromulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated’.13 The rule of law is about the existence oflaws, but it is also about implementation, including in challenging plural legal contexts and in post-conflictsocieties. This requires good governance and a functioning justice system that carries out its duties fairly,without bias or discrimination. This is the ideal. However, for millions of women and girls, the reality is thatthe rule of law means little in practice.While law is intended to be a neutral set of rules to There are challenges at every stage, starting with legalgovern society, in all countries of the world, laws tend frameworks (see Chapter 1). In some cases, laws overtlyto reflect and reinforce the privilege and the interests of discriminate against women, according them fewerthe powerful, whether on the basis of economic class, rights than men. Examples of this include laws that limitethnicity, race, religion or gender. Justice systems women’s rights within the family, or those that prohibitalso reflect these power imbalances. In all societies, women from passing on their citizenship to their husbandwomen are less powerful than men and the two areas or children, impacting on their civil and political rights, andin which women’s rights are least protected, where the access to public services. In other cases, the protectionrule of law is weakest and men’s privilege is often most of the rule of law is not extended to the private domainentrenched, are first, women’s rights in the private and where millions of women work and where they are mostdomestic sphere, including their rights to live free from likely to experience violence.violence and to make decisions about their sexuality, onmarriage, divorce and reproductive health; and second, Effective implementation of laws and of constitutionalwomen’s economic rights, including the right to decent guarantees is a key challenge for making the rule ofwork and the right to inherit and control land and other law a reality for women. The justice chain, the seriesproductive resources. of steps that a woman has to take to access the formal justice system, or to claim her rights, often breaks Introduction | 11
  14. 14. International law makes down due to lack of capacity in the justice system and commonly adjudicated by non-state justice systems thatit clear that governments discriminatory attitudes of service providers, including the lack adequate oversight or accountability mechanisms. police and judiciary (see Chapter 2). Services that do not International law makes it clear that governments areare responsible for take into account the barriers that women face, due to responsible for ensuring women’s access to justice andensuring women’s social norms, poverty or lack of awareness are a major eliminating discrimination in all justice systems.access to justice and problem in all regions. In the criminal justice system,eliminating discrimination high levels of under-reporting and attrition, whereby The weakness of the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict cases are dropped before they come before a court, are settings impacts on everyone, but has particularly severein all justice systems. indicative of a system that is failing women. consequences for women (see Chapter 4). The sexual violence that is a hallmark of conflict often spills over The existence of legal pluralism can also present into peacetime, precisely at the moment when domestic challenges to the realization of the ideals of the rule of justice systems are at their weakest. There is now a law for women (see Chapter 3). In most countries of the growing body of international law to deal with violations world, there is more than one set of laws in place. There of women’s rights in conflict, but there is a significant are often multiple strands of law based on custom, ethnic implementation gap, with only a fraction of perpetrators or religious identity incorporated into the state system, as indicted and convicted for their crimes. For the millions of well as a plethora of non-state justice systems, such as women who have been raped during and after conflict, or village courts, which are completely outside the purview who have been internally displaced, losing their land and of the state system. Family laws on marriage, divorce, livelihoods, justice remains out of reach. custody and maintenance, as well as inheritance laws are particularly likely to be subject to plural legal provisions, So, given all these challenges, how can the law and which sometimes contain elements of discrimination justice systems be made to work for women to overcome against women. Cases of violence against women are the inequality, violence and lack of choices they face? Making justice systems work for women Part I of Progress of the World’s Women addresses how justice systems can be made to work for women. It shows how legal reform is changing the landscape for women’s rights in all regions. It showcases the initiatives of governments and civil society to transform justice systems and create new models to meet women’s rights. It also highlights how women – as legislators, as lawyers and judges, as paralegals and community activists – are at the forefront of this transformation. Women around the world have used strategic litigation Chapter 1: Legal Frameworks examines the progress to demand justice for individuals, but also to enhance that has been made in reforming legislative and the rights of all women. These cases have been used to constitutional frameworks to advance gender equality change national laws, demand enforcement of existing and women’s rights. In the past 50 years, constitutions laws, strike down discriminatory customary law and in more than half of the countries of the world have been revolutionize the scope of international law. The report redrafted or amended, an opportunity that has been identifies some of the most important legal cases over seized upon by women to write gender equality into the the past 30 years that have changed the landscape for legal fabric of their countries.14 women’s rights (see Balancing the Scales).12 | Progress of the World’s Women
  15. 15. The chapter draws on CEDAW to lay out a three-part Chapter 3: Legal Pluralism and Justice for Womenreform agenda for governments to implement, aimed at: explores how to make justice systems work for womenending explicit discrimination against women; extending when, as is the case in most countries, there is morethe protection of the rule of law to the private domain; than one set of laws in place. Even in countries with aand taking responsibility for the law’s impact on women. well-functioning formal system, only a small fraction of grievances are taken to a formal court.15 This means thatWomen’s rights advocates have set their sights not only the overwhelming majority of women, as well as men,on formal equality before the law, but also on ensuring access justice through systems that are not entirely orthat laws are implemented and have a positive impact not at all within the purview of the State.on the day-to-day reality of women’s lives. Discriminatoryprovisions, from restrictions on women’s employment to This chapter highlights the responsibility of governmentstheir rights within marriage have been challenged and to address barriers to justice posed by the existenceoverturned. of plural legal systems. It also points to the many examples where governments are working with civilThe chapter highlights some of the main routes to reform, society to implement successful interventions in legallyincluding through strategic litigation, women’s campaigns plural contexts to increase women’s access to justice,for legal reform and the efforts of women legislators. In empowering women to retain the cultural identities theya number of countries, steep increases in women’s choose and to demand the human rights they value andrepresentation in parliament have been accompanied by need.wide-ranging legal reforms that have advanced women’srights. These programmes include training of paralegals to help Ensuring that women women to navigate justice systems; initiating dialogues on are present in justiceChapter 2: The Justice Chain looks at the implementation women’s rights with customary leaders; and supportingof laws and focuses primarily on the formal justice system. women’s engagement with indigenous courts. services can help toWith growing momentum around laws and policies to enhance accountabilityguarantee women’s rights, there has also been increasing Chapter 4: Justice for Women During and After and create a systemattention on the implementation gap. Conflict shows how over the past two decades, that is responsive international law has, for the first time, recognized both to women.The chapter shows that making justice systems the gender specific impact of conflict and the central partresponsive to women requires changes in the mandates, women play in building peace and rebuilding post-conflictprocedures and organizational cultures of the police, societies. Given that sexual violence is routinely used asthe courts and other service providers. Because of the a tactic of war, women’s justice needs are most acuteparticular barriers that women face, specialized, tailored during and after conflict, just at the moment when theand integrated services are needed. Women must also be State is least able to deliver.aware of their rights and have the knowledge required tonavigate the justice chain. This chapter analyses what is required to ensure that justice for women is achieved in these challengingWhile there are no instant solutions, ensuring that women settings. It also investigates what justice for womenare present in justice services can help to enhance means in post-conflict contexts. Women often prioritizeaccountability and create a system that is responsive to reparative as well as retributive justice, so supportwomen. Reporting of sexual assault increases if there are for livelihoods, health care and education is neededwomen in the police, pointing to the need to ensure that alongside prosecutions of perpetrators of human rightswomen are part of front line justice service delivery. abuses. The aftermath of conflict has often proved to be an important opportunity to ‘rewrite the rules’ as the State is rebuilt, ushering in progressive new constitutions and legal reform.16 Introduction | 13
  16. 16. Addressing underlying gender inequalities through conflict moment to fundamentally reshape society in comprehensive reparations, ensuring women’s voices more gender equitable ways, holds the as yet unfulfilled are heard in truth commissions and harnessing the post- promise of transformational change in women’s lives. Gender justice and the Millennium Development Goals Part II of Progress of the World’s Women analyses advances towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) from a gender perspective. The Millennium Declaration and the eight Goals agreed There has been important progress on some of in 2000 collectively present a vision for a more just and the MDGs, with impressive gains in education, and equal world: a promise by 189 countries to achieve social reductions in poverty and child mortality. However, justice for all. with the target date of 2015 in sight, it is increasingly clear that progress towards meeting many of the Goals All of the Goals – from reducing poverty and hunger, to is off-track. Inequality, including gender inequality, is achieving universal education and stopping the spread holding back progress and there have been the fewest of HIV and AIDS – are interdependent and each one gains on those Goals that depend the most on women’s depends on making progress on gender equality and empowerment, for instance maternal health. Women and women’s empowerment. Achieving these Goals is also girls, particularly those who live in rural areas or in the an essential precondition for women to access justice. poorest households, are too often being left behind. Without education, awareness of rights and decision- making power, women are often unable to claim their In the final four years of the MDGs framework, Part II rights, obtain legal aid or go to court. makes the case for a stronger focus on gender equality across all the Goals as an integral part of progress overall and as an essential foundation for women’s access to justice.14 | Progress of the World’s Women
  17. 17. Funding for women’s access to justiceMaking justice systems work for women – whether through catalysing legal reform, or supporting legal aid, one-stop shops and trainingfor judges – requires investment. Recognizing the importance of strengthening the rule of law, governments spend a significant amounton legal and judicial development and human rights. However, targeted funding for gender equality remains low.Two major sources of funding for justice sector programming in Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Germany were the largestmiddle and low income countries are the 24 donors that make up the donors to justice programmes in which gender equality was a primaryDevelopment Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic aim, supporting a range of activities including training for judges; legalCooperation and Development (OECD-DAC) and the World Bank. United aid for survivors of violence; women’s participation in peacebuilding andNations agencies are also significant funders of this work. reconciliation; reintegration of victims of trafficking; and awareness- raising campaigns to reduce early marriage. Guatemala, Burkina Faso,The OECD-DAC and the World Bank collect and publish data on their the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan and Colombiaaid spending, including on gender equality. United Nations agencies are received the most gender-focused justice aid in 2009.also starting to make available this data, but overall it is not yet possibleto draw strong conclusions about their funding for gender equality and Over the decade 2000 to 2010, according to the World Bank projectjustice. database, the World Bank has allocated $874 billion to 6,382 grants and loans, of which $126 billion (14 percent) was allocated to publicIn 2009, the most recent year for which data are available, OECD-DAC administration, law and justice.19 Over this time, 21 projects totallingdonors allocated $4.2 billion to justice, with the United States of America $1.2 billion included components on gender equality and the rule of(United States) and the European Union (EU) together accounting for 70 law, supporting activities such as improving women-friendly courtpercent of this total. Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico, the occupied Palestinian infrastructure; providing legal aid; recruitment and capacity building ofterritory and Pakistan were the largest recipients of this aid.17 paralegals; and policy advocacy for legal reforms.20 The total allocatedOut of the total of $4.2 billion, $206 million (5 percent) was allocated to the gender equality components of these projects amounted to justto programmes for which gender equality was a primary aim and $633 $7.3 million, a small fraction of the World Bank’s expenditure on publicmillion (15 percent) was allocated to programmes for which gender administration, law and justice over the decade (see Figure below).equality was a secondary aim.18 The EU allocated no funds to justice In December 2010, the World Bank concluded the process ofprogrammes in which gender equality was a primary aim in 2009. replenishing the International Development Association (IDA) fund,World Bank funding for grants and loans, 2000–2010 with 51 donors pledging $49.3 billion to support the poorest countries between 2011 and 2014. In this round, four areas of special focus were agreed, of which gender equality was one.21 This could presentOnly a very small fraction of World Bank funding has been allocatedto gender equality focused rule of law projects over the past decade. an important opportunity to ensure that women’s access to justice receives a larger share of the World Bank’s funding in the future. Total amount the World Bank has allocated to 6,382 projects: Total amount allocated Total amount allocated Total amount allocated to public administration, to 21 rule of law and gender equality to the gender equality components of law and justice: projects: these projects: $874 billion $126 billion $1.2 billion $7.3 million (14%) (0.14%) (0.001%) Source: Minaya 2011. Introduction | 15
  18. 18. Balancing the Scales: Groundbreaking Legal Cases that have Changed Women’s Lives Women who refuse to stay silent in the Strategic litigation is the process of bringing a case to court with the goal of face of injustice, who persist in spite of creating broader legal and social change. Alongside political lobbying and overwhelming obstacles to use all legal mobilizing social movements, it is a tactic that advocates have used to challenge avenues available in pursuit of their cause, gender discrimination and raise awareness of women’s rights. these women have changed the world. Where it is successful, strategic litigation can have groundbreaking results. By identifying gaps or changing laws that violate constitutional or human rights principles, such cases can motivate government action to provide for citizens, guarantee the equal rights of minorities or stop discrimination. The greatest impact is achieved when cases are part of wider campaigns for social change that provoke public debate and discussion in the media, to help ensure that progressive decisions are embraced by society as a whole. The cases highlighted have increased women’s access to justice in countries all over the world. Some have advanced the legal understanding of women’s human rights under international law and confirmed that they are enforceable at the national level; some have enforced or clarified laws already on the books; some have challenged laws that should be repealed; and some have created new laws. All have led to positive changes in women’s lives.16 | Progress of the World’s Women
  19. 19. When a husband rapes Women have the right to behis wife, it is a crime free from sexual harassmentMeera Dhungana on behalf of FWLD v HMG in the workplaceIn Nepal, married women subjected to rape by their husbands had no Vishaka v State of Rajasthanrecourse to justice until 2002, when the Forum for Women, Law andDevelopment (FWLD) brought a case to the Supreme Court. The case When Bhanwari Devi was gang-raped by local men while doing her jobinvalidated the provision of the criminal code that exempted husbands as a social worker in a village in Rajasthan, India she not only initiatedfrom being charged with the rape of their wives.1 criminal proceedings, but she also sought a broader remedy for other working women. Supported by five women’s organizations, includingIn rejecting the Government’s argument that outlawing marital rape Vishaka, she took the case to the Indian Supreme Court, where in 1997would offend Hindu beliefs, the ruling also ended the conflict between she eventually won watershed recognition of sexual harassment in thethe country’s Muluki Ain civil code, based on Hindu religious principles, workplace, against which the Government had an obligation to provideand the 1990 Constitution, which pledges to end all forms of gender legal protection.discrimination. The Court stated: Undeterred by the absence of existing sexual harassment laws, the Court’s decision recognized the right to gender equality and to a safe‘Sexual intercourse in conjugal life is a normal course of working environment, free from sexual harassment or abuse, based on behaviour, which must be based on consent. No religion the Constitution and India’s international obligations under CEDAW.4 The may ever take it [marital rape] as lawful because the aim Court used the case to produce the first enforceable civil law guidelines of a good religion is not to hate or cause loss to anyone.’2 on the rights of working women to be free from violence and harassment in both public and private employment. This prompted the Government to introduce a long-awaited bill prohibiting sexual harassment in theThe Court ordered Parliament to amend the rape law, but the penalty workplace in 2007.5for marital rape was set at only six months’ imprisonment, significantlylower than for other types of sexual assault. FWLD went back to court, The case has also inspired other reformers in the region. In 2009, thewinning a decision that the difference in penalties was discriminatory Supreme Court of Bangladesh, referring to the Vishaka case, recognizedand that the law must be amended.3 that the ‘harrowing tales of repression and sexual abuse of women in their workplaces’ were a result of the Government’s failure to enact aCases such as these reflect sweeping changes to the assumption that sexual harassment law. The detailed guidelines on protection againsta wife implicitly consents to all sexual activity. By April 2011, at least sexual harassment set out in the case now have the force of law in52 States had explicitly outlawed marital rape in their criminal codes Bangladesh until the Government enacts the relevant legislation.6(see Annex 4). Similarly, in Pakistan, advocates looked to the Vishaka guidelines in preparation for their successful push for legislation to protect women from harassment in the workplace.7 Salman Usmani Bhanwari Devi in her house in a village near Jaipur, India in 2007. Balancing the Scales | 17
  20. 20. It is not enough to have laws in place, they must be implemented Şahide Goekce (deceased) v Austria and Maria da Penha Fernandes v Brazil Fatma Yildirim (deceased) v Austria As she slept at her home in Şahide Goekce and Fatma Yildirim were both murdered by their husbands May 1983, Maria da Penha following years of brutal abuse. Despite reporting the violence to the Fernandes was shot by her police and obtaining protection orders, lack of coordination among law husband. Having suffered years enforcement and judicial officials resulted in repeated failure to detain of debilitating abuse, the mother of the offenders and ensure the women’s safety.8 three children was left paralyzed from the waist down. Two Two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) took the cases to the weeks after her return from the CEDAW Committee under the Optional Protocol. The Committee’s hospital, her husband attempted decisions on the cases in 2007 were of global significance because Conselho Nacional de Justiça/CNJ to electrocute her. The case they made clear that the State’s obligation to protect women from languished in the criminal justice domestic violence extends beyond passing laws. The Committee found system for years and Maria’s that Austria had failed to act with ‘due diligence’, by not ensuring husband remained free for nearly that the law was implemented properly. In the Goekce case the two decades. When he was finally Committee said: sentenced in 2002, he served just two years in prison. Maria da Penha, March 2011, Brazil. ‘In order for the individual woman victim of domestic In this landmark ruling, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights violence to enjoy the practical realization of the principle held the Government of Brazil responsible under international law for of equality of men and women and of her human rights failing to take effective action to prosecute and convict perpetrators of and fundamental freedoms, the political will…must be domestic violence. It stated that: supported by State actors, who adhere to the State party’s due diligence obligations.’9 ‘Failure to prosecute and convict the perpetrator...is an indication that the Brazilian State condones the violence In response to the Committee’s recommendations and the media suffered by Maria da Penha and this failure by the attention that surrounded the case, the Austrian Government introduced Brazilian courts to take action is exacerbating the direct and accelerated legal reforms to protect women from violence, including consequences of the aggression by her ex-husband.’11 an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure, new protection measures and the creation of specialized domestic violence prosecutors. In order to support these reforms, the Government increased funding for The case contributed to the growing international consensus that States implementation of the law by 60 percent in 2007.10 have a legal obligation to take positive steps, measured by the standard of ‘due diligence’, to uphold women’s human rights. In 2006, the Government of Brazil enacted domestic violence legislation, symbolically named the Maria da Penha Law on domestic and family violence, mandating preventative measures, special courts and tough sentences.12 Maria da Penha continues to campaign for justice for survivors of domestic abuse and is outspoken about the need for thorough implementation of the law.18 | Progress of the World’s Women

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