Thursday, July 29, 2021

A Feminist Analysis of the International Mediation Process

Jenna Sapiano, The Boundaries of Peace: A Feminist Analysis of International Mediation Processes  
Griffith Law Review, Forthcoming

The assumption that peace mediation is gender-neutral reproduces and reinforces the already gendered aftermath(s) of war. Peace mediation is a multilayered conflict resolution mechanism that ranges from grassroots peacebuilding to high-level diplomacy. As a ‘language of peace’, international law has become foundational in high-level peace mediation processes and institutions. International legal feminist and queer theory are critical of international law for its gendered and heteronormative frameworks that reinforce the binaries of war/peace, masculine/feminine or heterosexual/homosexual. Global governance gender law reforms, such as the Women, Peace and Security agenda, are part of the institutional frameworks that guide peace mediation processes. High-level peace mediators are also members of an ‘epistemic community’ regulated by international and regional organizations. The article analyses how masculine and heteronormative international legal institutions and experts shape peace mediation’s already gendered processes and outcomes. The article concludes that contemporary peace mediation approaches must be rethought and that alternatives to the traditional peace table must be imagined.

July 29, 2021 in Business, Courts, International, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Learning from the European Union Model of Corporate Board Diversity and Gender Equity

Kimberly Houser & Jamillah Bowman Williams, Board Gender Diversity: A Path to Achieving Substantive Equality in the U.S., 63 William & Mary L. Rev. (forthcoming) 

 While the United States made history this year with Kamala Harris becoming the first woman, Black, and Asian Vice President, the country overall has been rapidly losing its status as a global power founded on democratic principles. This is in part due to the leadership’s active involvement in reducing the rights of women, Black people, and other marginalized groups. We use gender diversity on corporate boards as a comparative example, to examine the legal frameworks designed to promote equality in the EU and U.S.

While the European Union (EU) was founded on the concept of equality as a fundamental value in 1993, the United States (U.S.) was created at a time when women were considered legally inferior to men. This has had the lasting effect of preventing women in the U.S. from making inroads into positions of power. While legislated board gender diversity mandates have been instituted in some EU countries, the United States has been loath to take that route, relying instead on the goodwill of corporate boards with little progress. On September 30, 2018, however, California enacted a law that has stirred much controversy for requiring at least one woman to be on the boards of corporations headquartered in the state by 2020. Based on our analysis, the CA bill and other similar legislative efforts will fail without parallel constitutional action and cultural change in the United States.

We begin by examining the individual, institutional, and cultural reasons why the U.S. lags so far behind the rest of the industrialized world. We then discuss recent activism by powerful institutions such as NASDAQ and Goldman Sachs that may be signs of broader cultural change and receptiveness to positive action. Next, we conduct an analysis of the legislative, cultural, and constitutional factors that have helped the EU succeed in increasing board diversity. We conclude by offering a normative solution that can pave the way to achieving gender equality in the United States. Learning from the EU model, the U.S. must let go of the Equal Rights Amendment and adopt a Substantive Equality Amendment to the Constitution requiring positive action to facilitate laws enabling gender equality. This solution will have broad cultural impact outside of the board context and will help change the lived experiences and outcomes for women in the United Stated for generations to come. It will change the course of history.

July 29, 2021 in Business, International, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Mexico Implements Constitutional Mandate for Gender Parity for Representatives

"Parity in Everything": What Mexico Can Teach Us About Women's Representation 

On June 6, 2021, Mexico implemented its constitutional mandate for “gender parity in everything” for the first time. All eyes were on the 15 governors’ seats up for grabs, with Mexico becoming the first country in the world to require that parties nominate women for governors’ races.

 

Women ultimately won five states: Baja California, Chihuahua, Colima, Guerrero and Tlaxcala. Votes are still being counted in Campeche, but the woman candidate has the edge, and her victory would mean Mexico elected six women governors—over one-third of the races in contention and more than ever elected at once in the United States.

 

True, women’s victories are concentrated in the states outside Mexico’s power centers, because that’s where parties mostly sent women candidates. Nonetheless, women will play leading roles in Mexico’s future.***

 

The idea of gender quotas for women candidates goes back nearly 50 years, to the United Nations’ First World Conference on Women, coincidentally held in Mexico City in 1975. At the time, the U.N. recommendations merely emphasized the importance of women’s political inclusion, but women activists and elected officials knew party leaders would need requirements, not pretty words. So in Latin America and elsewhere, women began pushing party leaders to set targets for nominating women.

 

In 1991, Argentina became the first country in Latin America and the world to adopt a 30 percent gender quota law for women candidates. Mexico followed, with a 1996 law recommending that parties nominate 30 percent women for the federal Congress, and a 2002 law requiring them to do so. Key to this shift was Mexico’s democratization.

June 15, 2021 in Gender, International, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 4, 2021

Gender as a Central Feature of Illiberal Rhetoric and Action

Susanna Mancini & Nausica Palazzo, The Body of the Nation: Illiberalism and Gender, Routledge Handbook of Illiberalism (S. Holmes, A.Sajo, R. Uitz eds., forthcoming, 2021)

Gender has become a central feature of illiberal rhetoric and action. While socio-legal scholarship has established a clear relationship between anti-genderism and populist parties and/or the global right, the link between anti-genderism and illiberalism has not yet been clearly established. The aim of this chapter is to fill this gap.

The chapter first explicates the link between anti-genderism and global right/right-wing populism (two phenomena strictly related to contemporary illiberalism). It then establishes a more specific link between anti-genderism and illiberalism, by focusing on illiberal actors’ war on “gender ideology”, and their efforts to reshape human rights epistemology. The analysis corroborates these links by looking at three domains: immigration, religious attire, and sexual and reproductive rights.

June 4, 2021 in International, Religion, Reproductive Rights, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 12, 2021

Ninth Circuit Rules Woman Eligible for Asylum Because Domestic Abusers Persecuted her for Feminist Opinions

ABA Journal, Woman is Eligible for Asylum Because Domestic Abusers Persecuted her for Feminist Opinions, 9th Circuit Says

 woman who was persecuted by domestic abusers because of a feminist political opinion is eligible for asylum in the United States, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

Asylum applicant Maria Luisa Rodriguez Tornes didn’t have to show that her feminist opinions played the sole or predominant role in her domestic abuse, according to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at San Francisco. Rather, she only had to show that her political opinion was “one central reason” in the abuse.

Judge Susan Graber, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, wrote the April 5 panel opinion.

The Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals had found that Rodriguez Tornes was protected under the Convention Against Torture. But the immigration appeals board ruled against her on the feminism claim, holding that there were no findings that Rodriguez Tornes was abused for reasons unrelated to the relationship.

The 9th Circuit disagreed on the feminism claim, finding that Rodriguez Tornes had presented evidence to show that she was persecuted because of her political opinion.

“The record contains episode after episode of men stating, quite plainly, that they were beating, burning, raping and strangling her because she sought an equal perch in the social hierarchy,” Graber wrote.

An immigration judge had found that the Mexican government would acquiesce in Rodriguez Tornes’ torture, which means that the government would also be unwilling to stop future persecution by domestic abusers, the appeals court said.

Rodriguez Tornes had alleged that she was first beaten by her mother, partly to prepare her for future beatings by her husband. Her husband also beat her, according to the appeals court. On one occasion, he stuck a lit cigarette into her arm at 1 a.m. and ordered her to cook. When she refused, he dragged her by her hair into the kitchen. On another occasion, he burned her face with a cigarette because she refused to leave her teaching job.

[See rest of article]

April 12, 2021 in International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 5, 2021

Conference: Beyond Western Hegemonies of International Law and Feminist Theory

Cornell Law School & London South Bank University are hosting an exciting global online conference on Friday, March 26, 2021, entitled  "Beyond Western Hegemonies of International Law and Feminist Theory." The central theme of this conference will focus on the legacies and repercussions of the hegemony of Western thought within both feminist research and practice in the sphere of international law and attempts and proposals for overcoming these. Professor Chandra Mohanty, a pioneer and expert in women's and gender studies will be delivering the keynote entitled “Transnational Feminism as Insurgent Praxis.”

The full conference schedule and registration details are available here: https://support.law.cornell.edu/conferences/TLF/

March 5, 2021 in Conferences, International, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Effect of Constitutional Gender Equality Provisions Around the World

Adam Chilton & Mila Versteeg, The Effect of Constitutional Gender Equality Provisions, 

During the second-half of the twentieth century, provisions guaranteeing gender equality became a common feature of national constitutions. In that same period, de facto gender equality noticeably improved around the world. It is not clear, however, whether these trends are related. We explore the relationship between constitutional gender equality provisions and de facto gender equality using three different research methods: (1) cross-country regressions using data on national constitutions and gender equality; (2) a natural experiment made possible by the forced inclusion of a gender equality provision in Japan’s constitution; and (3) a survey experiment conducted in Japan on the effect of information on Japan’s legal obligations and support for reforms that would improve gender equality. Across all three methods, we find no evidence that constitutionalizing the right to gender equality translates into improved de facto gender equality. We conclude by offering some suggestive evidence that provisions guaranteeing maternity leave and protecting motherhood may be associated with improved gender equality, but these findings need further investigation.

March 5, 2021 in Constitutional, Family, Gender, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Federalism and Women's Equality Campaigns in Canada

Beverley Baines, Federalism and Women's Equality Campaigns in Canada, final version available in Jill Vickers, Joan Grace and Cheryl Collier (eds) Handbook on Gender, Diversity and Federalism, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 2020 http://dx.doi.org/10.4337/9781788119306.00022)

The three recent campaigns to constitutionalize women’s equality rights resulted in section 28 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 35(4) of the Constitution Act, 1982, and section 50.1 of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedom. The virtually identical wording of these laws belies significant differences among these campaigns. This chapter identifies these differences by applying Judith Resnik’s concept of federalism, Jill Vickers’ concept of gender, and Davina Cooper’s concept of diversity (GDiv) to the campaigns. The concepts reveal campaign narratives that submerged multicultural, indigenous, and intercultural identities. I borrow Vrinda Narain’s concept of intersectionality to argue that dialogues about the differences between women whose identities are submerged and mainstream women should inform feminist scholarship about the interpretation(s) of sections 28, 35(4) and 50.1.

February 24, 2021 in Gender, International, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 22, 2021

Dignity as a Constitutional Value: Abortion, Political Communication and Proportionality

Caroline Henckels, Ronli Sifris & Tania Penovic, Dignity as a Constitutional Value: Abortion, Political Communication and Proportionality, Federal Law Review (2021)

This article examines the High Court of Australia’s treatment of the concept of dignity as both a value animating the implied freedom of political communication and as a legitimate reason to limit the exercise of that freedom. It does so through the lens of Clubb v Edwards, Preston v Avery, the where the Court found that laws establishing safe access zones around abortion clinics were compatible with the implied freedom. The use of dignity as a prism through which to view the interests at stake in both abortion and speech cases is a familiar feature of developments abroad, and the Court has laid the foundations for recognition of dignity as one of the axiological bases of the implied freedom in a manner that generally emphasises individual autonomy over other conceptions of dignity that might be described as operating as a constraint on behaviour to protect other interests. Yet while the Court has used dignity as the common measure with which to commensurate competing claims, it has yet to convincingly address concerns regarding incommensurability that attend the balancing stage of proportionality review, not to mention the potential objection that its reliance on dignity is not properly grounded in the text and structure of the Constitution. In light of these issues, the role of dignity ought to be tethered to its central role in facilitating political participation so as to more clearly link the concept to the text and structure of the Constitution, and to identify what is at stake when women’s ability to access reproductive health care is impaired or denied.

February 22, 2021 in Abortion, Constitutional, International, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 4, 2020

Tracing the Development of Gendered Violence as an Issue of Global Constitutional Law

Judith Resnik, Susanne Baer & Marta Cartabia, Women, Gendered Violence, and the Construction of the "Domestic" in Seeking Safety, Knowledge, and Security in a Troubling Environment: Global Constitutionalism 2020

This Chapter provides background material for conversations held at the 2020 Global Constitutionalism Seminar (a Part of the Gruber Program on Global Justice and Women’s Rights) at Yale Law School.

This Chapter begins with an examination of the centuries-long assumption that gender-based violence was a “private” issue meant that legislatures, law enforcement agencies, and courts were unresponsive. It then maps how social movements and critical lawyering reframed gendered violence as one form of subordination that is in fact a marker of inequality and provides examples of national and transnational law that debate the bases, contours, and implications of rights to be free from such oppression. Having explored what affirmative obligations governments have toward their own populations to protect against gendered violence, this Chapter considers whether international refugee law, humanitarian law, and jurisdictions’ own constitutional law require offering a haven for people escaping gendered violence. Across the world, many courts have read constitutions to require that law aim to provide protection against and safety from gendered violence. Such mandates for an active state presence (often through criminalization) contrast with traditional approaches in which courts have insisted that law not interfere when acts are marked as private, intimate, or domestic. This Chapter explores the demands on the state and the repertoire of remedies deployed when governments work towards achieving substantive equality.

December 4, 2020 in Constitutional, International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

COVID and Access to Justice for Survivors of Domestic Violence in Canada

Jennifer Koshan, Janet Eaton Mosher, Wanda Anne Wiegers, COVID-19, the Shadow Pandemic, and Access to Justice for Survivors of Domestic Violence, Forthcoming, Osgoode Hall Law Journal

The COVID-19 pandemic has co-existed alongside a far less visible “shadow pandemic” of violence against women, with COVID-19 impacting the number and complexity of domestic violence cases and enabling new tactics for coercive control. This article provides a preliminary assessment of the extent to which Canada’s responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have prioritized the safety of women and children, with a focus on the courts and women’s access to justice. We examine court directives and judicial decisions triaging which cases would be heard as “urgent,” as well as courts’ decisions on the merits in cases involving domestic violence and COVID-19, spanning the areas of family, child welfare, criminal law, and civil protection orders. In the sixty-seven reported decisions in our sample, we find very little awareness overall of the heightened risks for survivors during COVID-19, in keeping with the pre-pandemic tendency of decision makers to focus on incident-based physical violence instead of patterns of coercive control. Our analysis also suggests that survivors’ ability to prove domestic violence and secure court orders that would help to ensure their safety was hampered not only by procedural complexity but also by the reduced availability of a range of services—health, counselling, housing, and supervised access centres, for example— as a result of COVID-19. The cases further reveal significant differences in judicial interpretation of the risks of COVID-19 relative to the risks of domestic violence, often depending on the area of law in question. This again aligns with observations of the judicial treatment of domestic violence prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with different and sometimes conflicting norms and assumptions prevailing in different legal contexts. We conclude that despite some positive government responses and judicial decisions, COVID-19 has further exposed many of the gaps in knowledge about domestic violence and in the supports and resources necessary to make women and children safe that long pre-dated COVID-19. In addressing the ongoing pandemic of violence against women, we offer some suggestions of measures to improve access to justice during this and future disasters.

October 7, 2020 in International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Role of South Africa's Women Judges in Pursuing Gender Equality Through the Courts

Penelope Andres, Pursuing Gender Equality through the Courts: The Role of South Africa’s Women Judges" 

The appointment of female judges in South Africa is part of the transformative constitutional project. This chapter examines the question of gender equality and specifically the contribution of female judges to the transformation of the judiciary in. It explores whether women judges have, in their judgements, conscripted and interpreted the Constitution to highlight and guarantee its transformative potential and possibilities. The chapter attempts to answer two questions: What difference has the cohort of women judges made since their appointment in significant numbers post-1994? What is the impact of women judges on constitutional jurisprudence with respect to gender equality? I conclude that despite some overlap between the opinions of the female and male judges, the opinions of the female judges differ in some significant ways from their male counterparts. This difference is located in the distinct way that female judges have framed the legal issues. The chapter has pointed out that considerable institutional obstacles continue to impede women’s appointment to the judiciary, but once on the bench, they really make a difference.

September 3, 2020 in Courts, International, Judges | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Congress Introduces Legislation to Repeal Helms Amendment Prohibiting US Foreign Aid for Abortions

First-Ever Legislation to Repeal Helms Amendment: Abortion is Healthcare Everywhere Act

Today, Congress introduced the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act of 2020—the first-ever legislation to repeal the Helms Amendment. The bill was introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowksy (D-Ill.) and co-sponsored by Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.).

 

Established in 1973 (notably the same year as the Roe decision), the Helms Amendment—introduced by former Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), an ultraconservative senator marked by blatant racism and other odious behavior—dictates U.S. foreign aid cannot be used for abortions.

 

Though there are exceptions for rape, incest and threat to the pregnant person’s life, in practice, the Helms Amendment has created a complete ban on abortion funding abroad—even in countries where abortion is legal.

 

Since its enactment, the Helms Amendment has been criticized as an imperialist, ideological, racist and classist policy.

 

“The Helms Amendment is a policy deeply rooted in racism,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “It imposes our arbitrary and medically unnecessary abortion restrictions on international communities, allowing the United States to control the health care and bodily autonomy of billions of Black and brown people around the world.”

 

Moreover, many argue abortion restrictions like Helms have led to the avoidable deaths of thousands of women by coercing them to seek unsafe alternatives.

 

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 35 million women per year have abortions in potentially lethal conditions. What’s more, unsafe abortions are one of the leading causes of maternal mortality worldwide. 

The bill is here: Abortion is Healthcare Everywhere Act: "To amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to authorize
the use of funds for comprehensive reproductive health care services, and for other purposes."

August 4, 2020 in Abortion, International, Legislation, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bibliography: Gender and Law Scholarship in Japan

Mark Levin & Kallista Hiraoka, Gender and Law Scholarship in the Law in Japan Field: A Comprehensive Bibliographic Study, 21 Asia-Pacific Law & Policy J. 1 (2020)

This bibliography, inspired by a 1990 journal article by Professor Veronica Taylor titled, Teaching about Law and Society in Japan: Does Gender Matter?, 10 JAPANESE STUD. 47 (1990), and Professor Vera Mackie’s commanding body of work in this field of study [N.1], aims to offer a tool for students and researchers interested in issues relating to gender and law in Japan. We started this bibliography by compiling and snowballing from sources in Levin’s office collection and a variety of title word searches in legal journal databases. We shared our findings first to a select list of scholars who kindly shared feedback and advised us of missing items, and secondly, on SSRN, which also allowed us to obtain additional input. The bibliography contains more than 150 publications including monographs, book chapters, textbook materials, and journal articles from 1962 to 2019.

 

N.1 Vera Mackie, Equal Opportunity in an Unequal Labour Market: The Japanese Situation, 4 AUSTL. FEMINIST STUD. 97 (1989); Vera Mackie, Equal Opportunity and Gender Identity: Feminist Encounters with Modernity and Postmodernity in Japan, in JAPANESE ENCOUNTERS WITH POSTMODERNITY 95 (Jóhann Páll Árnason & Yoshio Sugimoto eds., 1995); VERA MACKIE, FEMINISM IN MODERN JAPAN: CITIZENSHIP,
EMBODIMENT AND SEXUALITY (2003).

August 4, 2020 in International, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, July 20, 2020

"Where is God When we Need Her?" Women's Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief as Key to Promoting Gender Equality

Cochav Elkayam-Levy, "Where Is God When We Need Her? Women’s Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief as Key to Promoting Gender Equality"  95, Tulane L. Rev. (forthcoming)


Belief is a fundamental right of every woman. It articulates women's freedom to follow their aims and beliefs and protects their personal autonomy to pursue their chosen faith (be it theistic, non-theistic or atheistic). It also guarantees that women would be able to freely express their diverse opinions, moral convictions and experiences without social or other constraints. Yet this article reveals that women’s belief liberties are a blind spot in human rights law. The right to freedom of religion or belief has thus far been widely viewed by the international community as an obstacle to women's advancement; Among many aspects of this problem, this article considers the implications of the omission of the right to freedom of religion or belief from the Women’s Convention. It shows that states receive little guidance on how to secure this right in ways that also respect the right to gender equality. It also identifies a conflict syndrome by which women are predominantly viewed through the lens of harmful practices. Lastly, it calls attention to the fact that, presently, no state is being systematically supervised for implementing this fundamental right of women. Examining possibilities for change, the article demonstrates that the right of women to gender equality and to freedom of religion or belief are inseparably linked and that international mechanisms protecting women’s belief liberties could tremendously contribute to advancing women’s equal status.

July 20, 2020 in Constitutional, International, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 1, 2020

United Nations Working Group Declares Eight US States In Breach for COVID Restrictions on Abortion

US States Manipulating Covid-19 Pandemic to Restrict Abortion Access, Rights Experts Charge

Members of the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls issued a statement on Wednesday expressing regret that states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee “appear to be manipulating the crisis” to curb women’s reproductive rights.

 

UN experts are concerned some US states – such as Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee – appear to be manipulating crisis measures to restrict access to essential. services.

 

“This situation is also the latest example illustrating a pattern of restrictions and retrogressions in access to legal abortion care across the country. We fear that, without clear political will to reverse such restrictive and regressive trends, states will continue pursuing this pattern,” said Elizabeth Broderick, Vice-Chair of the Working Group.***

 

The Working Group was also extremely concerned by the US insistence to remove references to “sexual and reproductive health and its derivatives” from the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) on COVID-19, as expressed through a letter on 18 May from USAID to the UN Secretary-General.

 

“We reiterate that sexual and reproductive health services, including access to safe and legal abortion, are essential and must remain a key component of the UN’s priorities in its responses to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ms. Broderick.

 

“Removing references to sexual and reproductive health from the HRP will have devastating consequences for women worldwide. It will seriously undermine the international community’s joint effort to respond to women’s health needs in this time of crisis.”

 

Global Times, US Women's Rights Breach

Some US states are exploiting the coronavirus crisis to restrict access to abortion, a group of independent United Nations (UN) rights experts said on Wednesday.

Eight states have used COVID-19 emergency orders - which suspend medical procedures not deemed immediately necessary - to limit access to pregnancy terminations, said the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls.

The group singled out Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

"We regret that the above-mentioned states, with a long history of restrictive practices against abortion, appear to be manipulating the crisis to severely restrict women's reproductive rights," said the group's vice-chair Elizabeth Broderick.

The independent experts do not speak for the UN but report their findings to the world body.

 

"For many women in the US, bans on abortion during this pandemic will delay abortion care beyond the legal time limit or render abortion services completely inaccessible," said Broderick.

Those who do seek termination services will be forced to travel interstate, thereby risking their own health and disregarding public health guidelines, the experts said.

"Abortion care constitutes essential health care and must remain available during the COVID-19 crisis," Broderick added.

"Restrictions on access to comprehensive reproductive health information and services, including abortion as well as contraception, constitute human rights violations and can cause irreversible harm."

The group said it was "inherently discriminatory" to women to deny them access to services only they require.

June 1, 2020 in Abortion, Healthcare, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Strategies for Global Responses to the Increase in Domestic Violence in the Age of COVID-19

Caroline Bettinger-Lopez & Alexandra Bro  A Double Pandemic: Domestic Violence in the Age of COVID-19, Council on Foreign Relations

How have lockdowns influenced rates of domestic violence?

Data from many regions already suggests significant increases in domestic violence cases, particularly among marginalized populations. Take for example the Middle East and North Africa, which have the world’s fewest laws protecting women from domestic violence. An analysis by UN Women [PDF] of the gendered impacts of COVID-19 in the Palestinian territories found an increase in gender-based violence, and warned that the pandemic [PDF] will likely disproportionately affect women, exacerbate preexisting gendered risks and vulnerabilities, and widen inequalities. In Latin American countries such as Mexico and Brazil, a spike in calls to hotlines in the past two months suggests an increase in domestic abuse. Meanwhile, a drop in formal complaints in countries such as Chile and Bolivia is likely due to movement restrictions and the inability or hesitance of women to seek help or report through official channels, according to the United Nations and local prosecutors.
 
In China, police officers in the city of Jingzhou received three times as many domestic violence calls this past February as in the same time in 2019. Some high- and middle-income countries, such as Australia, France, Germany, South Africa, and the United States, have also reported significant increases in reports of domestic violence since the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

What can countries do to protect those at risk of domestic violence amid the pandemic?

As the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations have emphasized, countries must incorporate a gender perspective in their responses to the COVID-19 crisis. Several countries and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have already taken innovative steps in this direction. New campaigns also use social media to spread awareness of resources available to survivors, including hotlines, text message–based reporting, and mobile applications.

 

Social distancing has increased people’s reliance on technology and changed the way mental health, legal, and other social services are provided to survivors unable to leave their homes. With disruptions to the criminal justice system, countries have shifted to virtual court hearings, facilitated online methods for obtaining protection orders, and communicated their intentions to continue to provide legal protection to survivors.

 

Moving forward, it is critical that states support the development of alternative reporting mechanisms; expand shelter options; strengthen the capacity of the security and justice sectors; maintain vital sexual and reproductive health services, where domestic and sexual violence victims are often identified and supported; support independent women’s groups; finance economic security measures for women workers, especially those serving on the front lines of the pandemic or in the informal economy, and other groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic, such as migrant, refugee, homeless, and trans women; and collect comprehensive data on the gendered impact of COVID-19.

May 20, 2020 in International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

LSA Announces Prize to Article on the Nordic Model of Criminalizing the Purchase, Rather than the Sale, of Sex

LSA Honorable Mention Prize

Niina Vuolajarvi is a Mellon/ACLS dissertation fellow at the Department of Sociology at Rutgers University, and a visiting PhD student at the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Princeton University. Her research focuses on technologies and cultures of governance, migration, sexuality and gender and precarization. Her article “Governing in the Name of Caring—the Nordic Model of Prostitution and its Punitive Consequences for Migrants Who Sell Sex,” examines the Nordic Model, which aims to abolish commercial sex by criminalizing the buying of sexual services while not criminalizing the selling, as the aim is to protect, rather than punish, women. Her article argues that in a situation where the majority of people who sell sex in the region are migrants, the regulation of commercial sex has shifted from prostitution to immigration policies, resulting in a double standard in the governance of national and foreign sellers of sexual services.

 

May 12, 2020 in International, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Call for Nominations Women in International Law Scholarship Prize

Women in International Law Interest Group

Scholarship Prize

2020-2021

Call for Nominations

            The Inaugural WILIG Scholarship Prize Committee (Lori Damrosch, Adrien Wing, Viviana Krsticevic, Nienke Grossman and Milena Sterio) invites you to submit a nomination for the first WILIG Scholarship Prize.

            The WILIG Scholarship Prize aims to highlight and promote excellence in international law scholarship involving women and girls, gender, and feminist approaches. Although scholars have utilized gender and feminist analyses in international law for at least a quarter of a century, such approaches frequently fail to permeate the mainstream of international legal scholarship and practice. This prize, awarded every two years, recognizes innovative contributions to international law scholarship that theorize or utilize a feminist lens or lenses, highlight and seek to address topics disproportionately affecting women and girls, or consider the impact of international law or policy on gender more broadly.

            WILIG’s Scholarship Prize Committee invites all ASIL members to submit a single article, chapter, or book published in the last three years, for consideration. Self-nomination is welcome, as is nomination of others. The Committee will consider the following criteria in granting the award, and encourages nominators to include a brief cover letter describing how the submitted work meets these criteria:

  • Appropriate Substance. The work utilizes a feminist lens or lenses, addresses a topic that disproportionately affects women and girls, or considers the impact of international law or policy on gender more broadly.
  • The work addresses topics not covered by previous scholars, highlights diverse perspectives on law and policy, uses new theoretical or methodological approaches, or applies theoretical or methodological approaches to topics in new ways.
  • The work demonstrates in-depth knowledge and expertise concerning a topic.
  • The work has affected or has the potential to affect the way scholars and policy-makers view or address a particular topic or issue going forward.

Please email your cover letter and scholarly work to lschnitzer@ubalt.edu with subject line “WILIG Scholarship Prize Submission” by June 15, 2020.  Questions about the prize can be emailed to wilig@asil.org.

The WILIG Scholarship Prize will be awarded at the WILIG Luncheon at the 2021 ASIL Annual Meeting.

May 5, 2020 in Call for Papers, International, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 17, 2020

South Korean's New Women's Party Built on Feminist Ideals

The Guardian, South Korean's First Feminist Party Holds Out Hope of Election Miracle

Two years year after South Korea became the centre of Asia’s #MeToo movement, the country’s first feminist party is hoping to keep women’s issues on the political agenda by winning seats in Wednesday’s national assembly elections.

 

In a campaign dominated by the government’s response to the coronavirus epidemic, the newly formed Women’s party has warned that South Korea’s poor record on sexual discrimination and violence risked being overlooked.

 

Young women have shaken up the country’s political culture in recent years with high-profile campaigns targeting the country’s molka spy cam voyeurism epidemic, strict beauty standards and the decades-old ban on abortion.

 

Despite its economic power, technological prowess and the soaring global popularity of its pop music and cuisine, South Korea remains a deeply conservative, patriarchal society. It ranked 108th out of 153 on the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Index, while women comprise just 17% of MPs in the national assembly – well below the global average of about 25% - according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

 

Launched only last month to coincide with International Women’s Day, the Women’s party is expected to struggle to attract votes from the two main parties – President Moon Jae-in’s liberal Democratic party and the conservative United Future party – and their smaller allies, as it attempts to win four of the 47 seats being contested through proportional representation in the 300-seat assembly.

 

“The two biggest parties dominate the political scene, but many diverse voices need to be heard,” Kim Eun-joo, co-leader of the Women’s party, told the Guardian on the eve of the election. “We’re not a party for women to discuss a wide range of issues – we’re about improving the lives of women, and that’s why we only have a small number of campaign pledges.”

April 17, 2020 in International, Legislation, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)