11.04.2017 - GENDER

High-level Roundtable on Women and Legislative Reform

On March 10, the University of Pennsylvania Law School (Penn Law), under the leadership of Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Associate Dean of International Affairs of Penn Law, organized a High-level Roundtable entitled “Women and Legislative Reform: Case Studies from the Field”. The event was co-sponsored by UNESCO, UN Women, The UN Sustainable Development Goals Fund and IDLO.

The event, hosted by the premier law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katzgathered together leading women jurists, legislators, policymakers and advocates who have engaged in legislative and policy drafting in their countries to discuss the need to shift from de jure equality to de facto equality.

Much progress has been made around the world in the enacting of laws to protect and empower women. For instance, to date, at least 119 countries have passed laws on domestic violence, 125 have laws on sexual harassment and 52 have laws on marital rape (see here for more information). However, the implementation of those laws remains a problem, as a result of inadequate enforcement mechanisms and a lack of adaptation of the justice system. The roundtable aimed to analyze the transformation of laws on the books to laws in practice through the prism of representative case studies, spurring critical thinking and dialogue on the importance of sex-disaggregated data analysis, and theoretical and practical strategies to translate laws into action.

The event was organized in three panels: (1) Addressing Gender Discrimination; (2) Violence against Women; and (3) Personal Laws. UNESCO was represented by Saniye Gülser Corat, Director of the Division for Gender Equality who delivered welcome remarks and made a keynote address in the first panel. Ms. Corat’s keynote address was on gender discrimination in education laws where she focused on the importance of legal environments to combat gender discrimination in education while presenting concrete measures needed to ensure that girls and boys worldwide have equal access to quality education. “When all children have access to a quality, inclusive education rooted in human rights and gender equality, there is a multiplier effect that promotes gender equality in the wider society for generations to come”, she noted.

UNESCO is dedicated to promote an enabling environment for non-discrimination and gender equality in education with, for instance, the UNESCO Convention and Recommendations against Discrimination in Education or the UNESCO’s Database on the Right to Education.




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