Human Rights of Women
Full course description
Worldwide women experience difficulties in fulfilling their human rights. Culture, tradition and stereotypical ideas influence women’s position in society. This course aims to look at the human rights of women from the perspective of the principles of non-discrimination and equality. After a thorough study of these concepts, the impact and use of several international and regional instruments that are based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination will be compared. Special attention will be paid to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Women’s Convention) and its supervisory organ, CEDAW. We will study both form and contents of the Women’s Convention and look into CEDAW’s monitoring possibilities. Regardless of how well rights are laid down and interpreted on the international level, they can only be enjoyed by individuals when they are implemented and protected on the national level. Customary and traditional practices and the dilemma between universality and cultural diversity may determine the de facto equality of men and women. In addition, the course will also address violence against women. Gender based violence is one of the most important issues that have been put on the international agenda since the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993. Violence may take many forms such as harmful traditional practices, sexual harassment, trafficking in women, sexual slavery, rape in conflict situations, and domestic violence.
The tutorial group sessions in this course are devoted to problem-based and discussion tasks. In addition, there will be lectures and/or recorded knowledge clip(s).
- Final (written) exam with open questions, accounting for 50% of the grade of the course.
- A mid-term assignment, in the form of a written and oral contribution, such as (but not necessarily) a mid-term paper and a presentation or participation in a debate. The mid-term assignment will be graded and count for 50% of the final grade for the course.
- In the event of a resit exam, the student will be given a take-home exam.
Generally: To provide and in-depth study of the principles of equality and non-discrimination contained in international and regional human rights instruments in general, and of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women in particular.
- The student has an in-depth understanding of women’s rights from the perspective of international human rights law.
- The student is able to effectively use the Women’s Convention and other relevant international and regional human right treaties. The student can identify, critically assess and apply the Women’s Convention’s normative standards, including state obligations, and procedural mechanisms.
- The student is able to identify situations of discrimination against women and can determine which steps can be taken in practice to solve concrete cases of gender based discrimination and violence against women.
- The student can analyze the domestic situation of a State as regards the implementation of women’s human rights.
Prior knowledge of international law and/or human rights law is needed.
Ingrid Westendorp (ed.), The Women’s Convention Turned 30: Achievements, Setbacks, and Prospects, Intersentia, 2012 (or more recent version);
Reading materials provided on the Student Portal.