The 14th Annual Dame Nita Barrow Lecture: "Women's Human Rights
CEDAW (the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) stands out as the primary international legal instrument on which women can draw for the realization of their human rights. However, its impact as a treaty can be maximised only with the active involvement and advocacy of women as rights holders. Drawing on her own extensive experience and study Shanthi Dairiam will present an overview of general trends in the achievement of women’s right to equality, the conceptual and contextual barriers to women’s equality and women’s relentless organizing around CEDAW.
Presented by the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education (CWSE), with support from The International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Shanthi will also teach the following course at OISE, University of Toronto:
OISE AEC1132 Special Course, Autumn 2011
Women’s Human Rights: Equality of Opportunity and Equality of Outcome The Significance of International Human Rights Standards
PART ONE will examine the gap between law and policy providing equal opportunities and women’s enjoyment and exercise of the right to equality. It will help establish that discrimination against women which continues to occur in policy and practice is universal and is at the root cause of women’s inequality in spite of many formal attempts to create equal opportunities.
PART TWO will address discrimination as defined by the standards of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (the Convention) and identify key sites of discrimination implicating various institutions both public and private. It will raise questions regarding the role of law and policy in reinforcing dangerous stereotypes and social norms about women and men and will point to the nexus between the personal or private sphere and the public sphere in creating gendered hierarchies through law, policy and practice, reproducing and entrenching women’s inequality.
PART THREE will focus on the role of the United Nations Human Rights Treaty System, in particular the role of the Convention in advancing women’s right to equality. It will help create an understanding of the special features of the Convention and its unique potential to redress women’s inequality. This will include a study of the mechanisms set up by the United Nations, as well as their effectiveness to hold States accountable to fulfill their obligations under the Convention to women’s equality.
PART FOUR will, through the careful examination of specific cases, explore ways the standards of the Convention have been used in selected contexts to ensure that a rights approach in compliance with the principle of substantive equality is adopted in the creation of law, policy or programme to ensure de jure and de facto equality for women.
The Dame Nita Barrow Distinguished Visitorship is generously funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Read more about them at www.idrc.ca.
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