Women’s Rights

Dianne Otto

in International Human Rights Law

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print November 2013 | ISBN: 9780199654574
Published online June 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191784057 | DOI:
Women’s Rights

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This chapter examines the efforts towards women's full inclusion in international human rights law, and is organized as follows. Section 2 describes the treatment of women in international law prior to the adoption of the UN Charter, in order to highlight the significance of the subsequent shift to the promotion of women's equality. It examines the non-discrimination approach favoured by the drafters of the founding human rights instruments, highlighting the importance of the approach as well as some of its limitations. Section 3 examines the innovative approach taken in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the drafters of which aimed to address the problems attending the concept of non-discrimination by promoting a strong version of women's substantive equality. Section 4 considers the new strategy of ‘gender mainstreaming’ adopted in the 1990s, which sought to reinterpret mainstream human rights to be inclusive of women's experiences. Section 5 concludes by highlighting some continuing obstacles presented by the law itself, which prevent women from successfully claiming and enjoying human rights.

Keywords: international law; human rights law; equality; Discrimination Against Women; CEDAW; UN Charter; gender mainstreaming

Chapter.  9490 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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