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Cover International Human Rights Law

16. Women’s Rights  

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.

Chapter

Cover Medical Law and Ethics

8. Contraception, Abortion, and Pregnancy  

This chapter examines the legal and ethical aspects of contraception, abortion, and pregnancy. Topics discussed include the use and function of contraception; the availability of contraception; teenage pregnancy rates; tort liability and contraception; ethical issues concerning contraception; the law on abortion; the legal status of the fetus; abortion ethics; and controversial abortions. A major current issue is the extent to which, if at all, the criminal law should be involved in the law of abortion. The chapter also considers arguments on legal interventions for pregnant women; for example, imprisoning a drug-using mother to ensure that her unborn child does not suffer from the consequences of her drug use.

Chapter

Cover International Human Rights Law

12. Rights for specific vulnerable persons  

Following on from the previous chapter on equality and non-discrimination, this chapter examines the additional systems of human rights protection in place for specific groups of people who are often disadvantaged and marginalized in societies. Six specific groups are considered: women, children, elderly, internally displaced persons, stateless persons, and refugees. It first explains why group rights evolved in a system of human rights that, from the outset, was supposed to be universal, and then discusses the particular needs of these groups, the evolving international and regional human rights framework, and the extent to which the legal framework addresses the needs of the group in question.

Chapter

Cover The Politics of the Police

6. A fair cop? Policing and social justice  

Benjamin Bowling, Robert Reiner, and James Sheptycki

This chapter examines fairness in policing with reference to issues of race and gender. It first defines the terms of debate—justice, fairness, discrimination—then considers individual, cultural, institutional, and structural theories and applies these to various aspects of policing. It considers the histories of police discrimination in relation to the policing of poverty, chattel slavery, racial segregation, colonialism, religious conflict, and ethnic minority communities, to understand their contemporary legacy. The chapter then examines spheres of police activity where allegations of unfairness and discrimination are particularly salient, including the response to women crime victims of rape and domestic violence, the use of ‘racial profiling’ in stop and search powers, and the use of deadly force. It examines the experiences of people from ethnic minorities, women, gay men, and lesbians within police forces. Through an exploration of the historical and contemporary literature, the chapter draws conclusions on whether or not the police act fairly in democratic societies.

Chapter

Cover Medical Law Concentrate

5. Abortion and prenatal harm  

This chapter is concerned with the statutory provisions governing abortion and prenatal harm. It considers the offence of abortion under sections 58 and 59 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 and section 1(1) of the Infant Life (Preservation) Act 1929 and the defences available prior to the Abortion Act 1967. It discusses the ethical debates concerning abortion, exploring ‘right-to-life’ arguments and rights of parties such as the foetus and the father. It also looks at the court’s approach towards adult women who lack capacity, before concluding with an analysis of actions for prenatal harm, namely, wrongful birth, wrongful conception, prenatal injury, and wrongful life. Relevant cases are cited.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

11. Gender and feminist criminology  

Pamela Ugwudike

This chapter focuses on criminological studies of gender, particularly women’s experiences as offenders and victims, and the extent to which women’s offending and victimisation are interlinked. It begins with an overview of how gender features in criminological studies then considers the origins and principles of feminist criminology, which is a strand of criminology that has heavily influenced criminological studies of gender and crime. The chapter also explores the main theoretical traditions within feminist criminology and the philosophical orientations that influence feminist research. This exploration includes the criticisms levelled against feminist criminology. Finally, the chapter examines how more recent strands of feminist thought have tried to respond to these criticisms.

Chapter

Cover Understanding Deviance

11. Feminist Criminology  

This chapter deals with feminist criminology and the critique of a traditionally masculine-driven discipline. It considers feminist arguments about the relationship between the criminality of women and their subordinate position and life experiences and the role of gender in theories of crime and deviance. It first considers Carol Smart’s views, as well as those of other theorists such as O. Pollak, W. I. Thomas, L. Gelsthorpe, and A. Morris. It then examines substantive areas where significant work has been accomplished in the field of feminist criminology: the ‘female emancipation leads to crime’ debate; the invalidation of the ‘leniency’ hypothesis; the relations between gender, crime, and social control; gender-specific crime; the increased prominence of the female victim in political and academic analysis; the gendered nature of victimization and criminalization; male violence; and intersectionality of class-race-gender inequalities. It concludes with a review of criticisms against feminist criminology.

Chapter

Cover Sentencing and Punishment

9. Experiencing imprisonment  

This chapter considers the experience of imprisonment for specific groups, namely women (including mothers), ethnic minorities, disabled prisoners, religious minorities, and gay, lesbian, and transgender prisoners. There is also more focus on the experience of foreign national prisoners and the growing number of olderprisoners. Policies that aim to reduce the risk of unfair treatment to these groups and their impact are reviewed, as is the framework of legislation designed to promote equality and human rights. The approach taken to race equality has now been extended to other groups. The framework of equality law is considered, including the Equality Act 2010 and its equality duty. The importance of gender-specific penal policies is also discussed.

Chapter

Cover International Human Rights Law

10. Adequate Standard of Living  

Asbjørn Eide and Wenche Barth Eide

This chapter examines the right to an adequate standard of living and its components, namely, the rights to food, housing, and health. The chapter analyses the meaning and key features of the right to an adequate standard of living and examines the normative content of that right and its components, namely, the rights to food, housing, and health. The chapter then explores the difficulties and special obligations in ensuring the right to an adequate standard of living for particular groups of people, addresses the relationship between the right to an adequate standard of living and other human rights, examines the question of progressive implementation of the right, and, finally, addresses the justiciability of the right to an adequate standard of living and the need for international action in its implementation.