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International Human Rights Law

International Human Rights Law (4th edn)

Daniel Moeckli, Sangeeta Shah, Sandesh Sivakumaran, and David Harris
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date: 01 October 2023

p. 32116. Women’s Rightslocked

p. 32116. Women’s Rightslocked

  • Dianne Otto


This chapter examines women’s rights and new developments related to gender identity. It 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. The chapter goes on to examine the innovative approach taken in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which promoted a strong version of women’s substantive equality. The strategy of ‘gender mainstreaming’, adopted in the 1990s, sought to reinterpret mainstream human rights to be inclusive of women’s experiences. The chapter concludes by highlighting some continuing obstacles presented by the law itself, which prevent women and other gender identities from successfully claiming and enjoying human rights.

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