Monday, October 31, 2016


Better-educated mothers have healthier and better-educated children, who are more likely to benefit from adequate nutrition and immunizations, attend school more regularly and longer, and study more frequently.
On average, each additional year of school a mother attends leads to her children completing four more months of school by the age of 15 to 18.*

*Bhalotra, Sonia, Kenneth Harttgen, and Stephan Klasen. 2013. The Impact of School Fees on the Intergenerational Transmission of Education. Background paper commissioned for EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/4. Paris: UNESCO.
Leer más...

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Women with higher levels of education have fewer children, are more likely to give birth for the first time later in life, and to have children more than two years apart.
Specifically, reducing the number of girls giving birth before age 17 would promote healthier, smaller families. If all women had a primary education, early births could fall by 10 percent. If all women had a secondary education, early births could fall by 59 percent by the age of 15 to 18.*

* UNESCO. 2014c. Teaching and Learning: Achieving Quality for All—EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/4. Paris: UNESCO.
-UNPD (United Nations Population Division). 2011. World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision. New York: UNPD. P%202010%20publications.htm.
- ICF International. 2012. STATcompiler: Building Tables with DHS Data. Calverton, Md.: ICF International. Available at
Leer más...

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Increasing girls’ education reduces infant and maternal mortality because educated mothers have fewer pregnancies, are less likely to give birth as teenagers, and are better able to seek and negotiate life-saving health care for themselves and their young children.*

*Bhalotra, Sonia, and Damian Clarke. 2013. Educational Attainment and Maternal Mortality. Paper commissioned for EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/
 Paris: UNESCO. UNESCO. 2014a. Gender Summary: Teaching and Learning: Achieving Quality for All—EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/4. Paris: UNESCO
Leer más...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Decades of research shows that better-educated women earn more, have better jobs, and invest their
earnings into their famlies. Considering many women across the globe work in informal or unpaid work, a steady job and higher wages translates tinto better outcomes for families. Every additional year of school a woman attends increases her wages by an average of 12 percent. Also, if she has above-average math skills she can earn 18 percent more.*

*Schultz, Paul. 2002. “Why Governments Should Invest More to Educate Girls.” World Development 30, no. 2: 207–25.
Leer más...

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Investing in education, especially girls' education, increases economic and agricultural productivity and therefore contributes to economic growth.
Increasing the number of women completing secondary education by just 1 percent could increase
a country's economic growth by 0.3 percent. But even more significantly, increasing the number of people with strong literacy and numeracy scores can increase growth by a full 2 percent*

*Dollar, David and Roberta Gatti. 1999. “Gender inequality, income, and growth: Are good times good for women?” Policy Research Report on Gender and Development, Working Paper No. 1. Washington, DC: The World Bank*

*Dollar, David and Roberta Gatti. 1999. “Gender inequality, income, and growth: Are good times good for women?” Policy Research Report on Gender and Development, Working Paper No. 1. Washington, DC: The World Bank. Hanushek, et al. 2015. “Returns to Skills Around the World: Evidence from PIAAC.” European Economic Review 73: 103-130.

Leer más...

Friday, October 21, 2016

The World’s Best Investment: Girls’ Education

Girls’ education brings high returns not just for income and economic growth, but in other crucial areas as well—including improving children’s and women’s survival rates and health, reducing population growth, protecting children’s rights and delaying child marriage, empowering women in the home and in the workplace, and improving climate  change adaptation.

Leer más...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Launching the #SheDefends campaign

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD) coalition in MENA launches the #SheDefends campaign at a time when darkness is falling in the region. We are experiencing an upsurge of violence against women, specifically, against those who are working in the public space, suffering from simmering and bloodiest conflicts, an unprecedented emergence of non-state religious organizations,  in addition to  the closure of the public space, the imposition of restrictions on public freedoms and civil society organizations,  the rejection of human rights discourse by the majority of the state institutions.

 Subsequently, our campaign aims at highlighting the activities of WHRDs in the region, the issues they are working on, the violations they are facing.  Also, it aims at introducing them, calling upon relevant national, regional and international actors and interested people to support and protect WHRDs in the region, manifesting more solidarity with them.

WHRDs in MENA are working on highly varied and important cases related to Human Rights
Leer más...

Monday, October 17, 2016

Far from equality in housework

To make further inroads policy-makers and employers may need to find more ways of encouraging a healthy life-family balance in the workplace.
Professor Oriel Sullivan, Co-Director of the Centre for Time Use Research

Researchers have looked at the time spent doing housework by men and women living in 19 countries from the early 1960s up to the first decade of the 21st century. They calculate that over a half century across those countries, being a woman can be linked with doing two hours of extra housework per day compared with a man. The good news for women, however, is that overall the men's share has increased. By the first decade of this century more traditional countries in southern Europe have started to rapidly catch up with more progressive countries on gender equality, says the study.

An analysis of 66 time use studies between 1961 and 2011 reveals that Italian and Spanish women spent the most time on domestic tasks over the whole period. Until the end of the first decade of the 21st century, they did far more than the other women studied, with Italian men doing far less housework than men from other countries. In 1980, Italian women did 243 minutes (just over 4 hours) more housework than men a day, but by 2008 this had dropped by a quarter to an extra 183 minutes (just over 3 hours). In Spain, there was also a striking fall: from women doing an extra 174 minutes (almost 3 hours) housework in 2002 to 139 minutes (2 hours 19 minutes) in 2009.

As well as women in Italy and Spain, the females with the highest share of the housework across most or all of the 50-year period were in Poland, Yugoslavia/Slovenia, France and Germany. Across all the countries and time periods, married women, married men and those with children living at home spent the most time doing household chores.

The study shows women in the UK have decreased the amount of housework they do, while men in the UK have consistently increased their share over the 50-year period although not at the same rate. In 1961, UK women did an extra 195 minutes (nearly 3.5 hours), but by 2000 this had fallen to 90 minutes with a further drop to 74 minutes by 2005, says the study.

Nordic countries are leading the way in the trend towards greater gender equality, says the paper. It suggests there is 'no absolute ceiling' on finding better equality where the sharing of housework is concerned but that family-friendly policies pursued in Nordic countries, such as publicly available early childcare, have meant women are better supported. Women in Norway, Finland and Denmark did just over an hour more housework than men, according to the most recent time-use surveys.

Over decades men in the United States, Canada, Australia, Finland and the Netherlands have been increasing their share, but the study finds progress in gender equality slowed down during periods, particularly in the 1980s, with further stalling in the United States in the 1990s. While the research finds that the countries are continuing to move in the direction of gender equality, it says there may be limits to what can be achieved without changes in current social policy, the attitudes of employers and managers, and cultural understandings about what constitutes male and female roles in society. 

Study co-author Oriel Sullivan, Professor of Sociology of Gender and Co-Director of the Centre for Time Use Research at the University of Oxford, comments: 'The overall picture is of a continuing move towards men and women sharing the housework more equally. Despite obvious progress over the last few decades, our research suggests a slowing down of gender equality in many countries.

'To make further inroads policy-makers and employers may need to find more ways of encouraging a healthy life-family balance in the workplace, and provide further support for parents with sufficient funding for early child-care facilities and greater opportunities for parental leave.'

Lead author Dr Evrim Altintas, a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Time Use Research, adds: 'The gender gap in the division of domestic labour is strongly linked to inequalities in the labour market, such as the gender pay gap. The partner who spends more time in domestic work is at a disadvantage in terms of their work opportunities, and this negatively affects their future job prospects.'
Leer más...

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Women human rights defenders 

The Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, also known as the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, recognizes the important role of human rights defenders, including that of women defenders, and outlines the rights of all human rights defenders and the obligations of States.

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders has drawn attention to the specific challenges facing women human rights defenders and those working on women’s rights or on gender issues (A/HRC/16/44). Women human rights defenders are subject to the same types of risks as other human rights defenders, but as women they are also targeted for or exposed to gender-specific threats and genderspecific violence.31 The reasons for this are multifaceted and complex, and depend on the specific context in which the individual woman is working. Often, the work of women human rights defenders is seen as challenging traditional notions of family and gender roles in society, which can lead to hostility by the general population and the authorities. They are therefore stigmatized and ostracized by community leaders, faith-based groups, families and communities that consider them to be threatening religion, honour or culture through their work.

In addition, the work itself or what they are striving to achieve (for instance, the realization of women’s rights or any gender-related rights) also makes them targets for attack. Their families also become targets for threats  and violence, aiming to discourage women human rights defenders from pursuing their work. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders has acknowledged that women defenders are more at risk of being subjected to certain forms of violence and other violations, prejudice, exclusion and repudiation than their male counterparts. It is therefore important to strengthen protection mechanisms and other—local and international—responses to their specific concerns.

 The Special Rapporteur has recommended that States should ensure that protection programmes for human rights defenders integrate a gender perspective and address the specific needs of women human rights defenders. This must include prompt investigation of intimidation, threats, violence and other abuses against women human rights defenders whether committed by State or non-State actors. In practice, however, women human rights defenders are often without effective protection mechanisms.

Although the State has the primary responsibility to protect defenders when they are threatened or attacked, the international community as well as the United Nations presences on the ground also have a responsibility to support and protect them, bearing in mind the basic principles of confidentiality, do no harm and the informed consent of the person.

The right to a nationality 

Women’s ability to participate in public and political life is integrally related to their ability to claim citizenship and nationality-related rights. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women calls on States to “grant women equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality” and to “ensure in particular that neither marriage to an alien nor change of nationality by the husband during marriage shall automatically change the nationality of the wife, render her stateless or force upon her the nationality of the husband” (art. 9). It also requires State parties to “grant women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of their children”. The Committee has explained that nationality is critical to full participation in society and that not having one has a serious impact on the enjoyment of other rights such as the right to vote, stand for public office, access public benefits and choose a residence. Article 15 requires State parties to “accord to women equality with men before the law” as well as identical legal capacity in civil matters. The Committee has further explained that any restriction in this field seriously limits the woman’s ability to provide for herself and her dependants. The Committee has also noted with concern the high number of reservations to articles 9, 15 and 16, and called on States to withdraw them and to enact and enforce legislation in accordance with these articles.
Leer más...

Thursday, October 13, 2016


The United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and especially Goal 3 on gender equality and women’s empowerment, entail a commitment by States to promote mechanisms that give women a voice in politics and governance institutions. Reviews of the progress achieved on the Goals show that women are slowly gaining political power, mainly thanks to quotas and special measures. Regional variations remain, however

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women’s general recommendation No. 25 (2004) clarifies that the term “special measures” can encompass a wide variety of legislative, executive, administrative and other regulatory instruments, policies and practices, such as outreach or support programmes, allocation and/or reallocation of resources, preferential treatment, targeted recruitment, hiring and promotion, numerical goals connected with time frames, and quota systems. They should be adopted with a view to achieving substantive gender equality, which is required by the Convention.

States have adopted different forms of quota systems. The most common are political party quotas, legislative quotas and reserved seats. Political party quotas are usually voluntary, party-specific and put in place to increase the number of women party candidates or elected representatives, through setting a percentage of women. Legislative quotas are binding national policies that are enforced through legislation, requiring all political parties to include a certain number of women in their lists of candidates for elections. Another method is to reserve seats for women in parliament through a national policy, which ensures a certain number of female legislators. Since the Beijing World Conference, States have increasingly adopted quotas to boost women’s participation, counter discrimination and accelerate the slow pace at which the number of women in politics is rising. These measures are meant to correct some of the obstacles, especially institutional and systemic barriers, that still prevent women’s equal access to politics.

However, if adopted in isolation, these measures are usually not enough to ensure equality. Moreover, they require adaptation to the local context. Quotas for women have often been criticized for various reasons, e.g., if the women are chosen by political parties or leaders to serve political interests which may be contrary to ensuring equality or because quotas put too little emphasis on actual merits.29 Quotas for women need to be coupled with other measures to create an enabling environment for women to participate. Particularly, the positive impact of increasing women’s representation in public and political life will not be felt if the women who gain access are not also empowered to actively participate in the discussions and exercise influence in decision-making.

Participation in public life is, however, much broader than elections or being elected to public office. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has explained that the Convention’s article 7 extends to all areas of public and political life and is thus not limited to those specified in the article itself. According to the Committee, the political and public life of a country is a broad concept, and can refer to the exercise of political power, in particular legislative, judicial, executive and administrative powers, all aspects of public administration and the formulation and implementation of policy at the international, national, regional and local levels. Women’s right to participation also includes participating in civil society, public boards, local councils and the activities of political parties, trade unions, professional or industry associations, women’s organizations, community-based organizations and other organizations concerned with public and political life. The Committee’s general recommendation No. 23 (1997) on women in political and public life emphasizes States’ responsibility to appoint women to senior leadership positions, at all levels (local, national, international) of government, all government bodies, the judiciary, and to encourage political parties to do the same. States should ensure women’s access to information and take measures to overcome barriers such as illiteracy, language, poverty and barriers to women’s freedom of movement.

Women’s participation specifically in peacebuilding and peacemaking processes is particularly important if post-conflict societies are to be rebuilt based on respect for human rights and democratic values. United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and its follow-up resolutions and reports on women, peace and security, recognize women’s important contribution to peace and call for increased representation of women at all levels of decision-making, in all mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts
Leer más...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Historically, women have been excluded from political life and decisionmaking processes. Women’s campaigns for participation in the public and political arena date back to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and continue today.
At the time of the First World War, few parliamentary democracies recognized women’s right to vote. In 1945, when the United Nations was established, more than half of the 51 nations that ratified the Charter still did not allow women to vote or gave them only restricted voting rights.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to take part in the government of his or her country. One of the first tasks of the Commission on the Status of Women was to write the 1952 Convention on the Political Rights of Women. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women builds on previous conventions and its article 7 concerns women’s access to decision-making in political and public life. Article 7 guarantees the right of women to vote in all elections and public referendums and to be eligible for election to all publicly elected bodies, the right to participate in the formulation of government policy and its implementation, to hold public office and perform all public functions at all levels of government, and the right to participate in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or associations concerned with the public and political life of the country. Article 8 requires State parties to “take all appropriate measures to ensure to women, on equal terms with men and without any discrimination, the opportunity to represent their Governments at the international level and to participate in the work of international organizations.”

Although women’s right to vote has been secured in nearly every country of the world, in practice, the right to vote can sometimes be meaningless when other conditions make it virtually impossible or very difficult for both men and women to vote, such as the absence of free and fair elections, violations of freedom of expression, or lack of security, which tends to affect women disproportionally. In some countries, women cannot register to vote because they are missing a birth certificate or identity papers that are issued only to men. Other obstacles such as stereotyping and traditional perceptions of men’s and women’s roles in society, as well as lack of access to relevant information and resources, also inhibit women’s possibilities or willingness to exercise their right to vote fully. Traditional working patterns of many political parties and government structures continue to be barriers to women’s participation in public life, and women may be discouraged from seeking political office because of their double burden of work and the high cost of seeking and holding public office, in addition to discriminatory attitudes and practices. Among the countries that have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women few have a legal bar to the eligibility of women, yet women remain seriously underrepresented at all levels of government.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action deals extensively with the issue of women in power and decision-making. Through the Declaration and Platform for Action, States are committed to taking concrete measures to ensure women’s equal access to and full participation in power structures and decision-making, and to increase women’s capacity to participate in decision-making and leadership, in accordance with its detailed recommendations.
Leer más...

Sunday, October 9, 2016


Multi-level and intersecting forms of discrimination have always existed, although they have been more broadly acknowledged only in recent decades. Age, socioeconomic status, racial or ethnic background, religion, national origin, citizenship, status, health, particularly HIV/AIDS and disability, as well as poverty and sexual orientation, are examples of factors that can exacerbate or otherwise influence the nature of discrimination faced by women.

At the Fourth World Conference on Women, States recognized that “many women face additional barriers to the enjoyment of their human rights because of such factors as their race, language, ethnicity, culture, religion, disability or socioeconomic class or because they are indigenous people, migrants, including women migrant workers, displaced women or refugees.” In the Durban Declaration, States declared that they were “convinced that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance reveal themselves in a differentiated manner for women and girls, and can be among the factors leading to a deterioration in their living conditions, poverty, violence, multiple forms of discrimination, and the limitation or denial of their human rights.” They further recognized “the need to integrate a gender perspective into relevant policies, strategies and programmes of action against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in order to address multiple forms of discrimination.”

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination also addressed this in its general recommendation No. 25 (2000) on gender-related dimensions of racial discrimination, in which it noted that “racial discrimination does not always affect women and men equally or in the same way. There are circumstances in which racial discrimination only or primarily affects women, or affects women in a different way, or to a different degree than men. Such racial discrimination will often escape detection if there is no explicit recognition or acknowledgement of the different life experiences of women and men, in areas of both public and private life.”The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, in its general recommendation No. 25 (2004), also emphasized that State parties should address multiple discrimination against women by adopting temporary special measures. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the first binding human rights treaty to explicitly address multiple discrimination against women and girls, requiring State parties to take measures to ensure the equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for women and girls with disabilities.

The Special Rapporteur on violence against women has recognized the need to apply an intersectional analysis when researching gender-based violence to demonstrate different categories of discrimination against women.22 In a recent report on multiple and intersecting forms of violence against women (A/HRC/17/26), the Special Rapporteur argues that the elimination of violence requires holistic measures that address both inter-gender and intra-gender inequality and discrimination. This means that the analysis of gender-based violence should take into account factors that increase women’s and girls’ vulnerability, such as geographic location, level of education, employment situation, household size, marital relationships, access to political and civic participation, race, skin colour, intellectual and physical abilities, age, language skills and fluency, ethnic identity and sexual orientation.
Leer más...

Friday, October 7, 2016

10 Years Without Anna Politkovskaya

Anna Politkovskaya was not the first journalist killed in Russia after the end of USSR.  On the day of her assassination in Moscow October 7, 2006, the death list of the Glasnost Defense Foundation consisted of 211 names. It took us, the organizers of the memorial meeting in Moscow central Pushkin Square, 40 minutes to read out all those names, which struck all the attending Russian and International journalists.

Anna Politkovskaya became the first Russian journalist, whose death became International news and initiated, after many years, a new interest in Russia and Russian media.  Dozens of International conferences, films, books, debates and articles made an iconic image of her courage and dedication to the profession and human rights for hundreds of colleagues and the public in many countries.

Remembering Anna, today we remember at the same time all those who paid with their lives for the truth.  Standing in Pushkin Square in 2006, we believed that her murder would be the last. We were wrong. Today the number of deceased media professionals, those who have been killed, disappeared, died in unclear situations, is more than 350 in Russia.  Some of them lost their lives during conflicts, in the Caucasus and East Ukraine, but many have been killed far from conflict zones. Most of these tragedies have ended with impunity.

To tell the truth, according to UNESCO data, less than 10 per cent of all killings of journalists around the world end with a prosecution and punishment of those responsible, killers and masterminds.

So Russia is not an exception.

The most resonant of murders have still not been investigated properly. The killing of Dmitry Kholodov from Moscovsky Komsomolets in 1994 (in 2014 the European Court of Human Rights decided that Russian Federation had failed to conduct a proper investigation into the case), of TV star Vlad Lietiev, Russia’s ‘Lary King’ in 1995, Larisa Yudina from Kalmykya in 1999 (for Russian journalists she was the first icon of human rights journalism), the mysterious death of Yury Shcekochikhin in 2003, 16 out of 17 journalists killed in Dagestan and many others.

The Investigation of Politkovskaya’s killing, despite the jailing of some people, is currently frozen. The chief editor of Novaya Gazeta, Dmitry Muratov, said that he felt disappointed and had no hope.

Fortunately, monitors of the Glasnost Defense Foundation and RUJ have not had to report any killings in 2015 and 2016. But attacks on journalists, beatings, threats and different forms of censorship remain everyday practice.

The culture of impunity (where violence against journalists is neglected by the law enforcement agencies, attacks and threats on journalists go unpunished, and legislation devoted to the protection of journalists does not work properly) is a real threat to freedom of the media, and for democratic development itself.

Recent media regulations, especially since 2014, have created new challenges for independent voices in the media. As Director of Mass Media Defense Center, board member of Article 19 media lawyer Galina Arapova wrote, “all the recently adopted laws create additional privileges for state media, in particular state TV” and at the same time “the authorities make a strong use of administrative resources to keep the press in check and tighten censorship around individual journalists and media organizations.”  

“The criminal code provides about 30 provisions that could be used against journalists from criminal defamation and infringement of privacy up to publication of state secrets, extremism and separatism”- Arapova added.

And article 144 of the Criminal Code that is supposed to protect journalists from harassment by providing criminal liability for the “obstruction of the lawful professional activities of journalists”- is used very rarely.

Media experts count over 20 new regulations and amendments to laws passed through parliament since 2014, that restrict journalist and media work. Many of them have never been properly discussed with the professional and expert community. Implementation is also a problem where the legislation such as the anti-extremism law is misused against the media.

Restrictive regulation of the Internet is also a problem with some laws introducing harsh sanctions or the closure of media outlets. The law banning the use of obscene language can lead to fines imposed on media, but also the blocking of websites or eventual closing of the media outlet. Then there is the recent initiative of the so called “Yarovaya law” (introduced by MP Yarovaya) that demands full control on the Internet (experts say this is impossible for technical and financial reasons).

It is no exaggeration to say that new restrictions for the media (as well as for NGOs) are closely associated with anti-Russian sanctions. They are obvious reactions to the political tensions and are really harmful for free speech and civil society in Russia.

Shadows of a new Cold War are becoming darker, and spoil the media environment.  Mainstream media produce anti-Western and anti-American propaganda as response to anti-Russian propaganda and wide spread presentation of Russia as a new “Evil Empire”. Many journalists are scared to combat the propaganda and do not want to risk their jobs. Self-censorship is really strong, especially during the crisis in the industry and job cuts.

Despite this, the Russian media landscape is not a desert, and many independent and interesting media still operate and produce interesting content and innovative strategies, both in management and investigation, with courage and commitment to the journalist mission, human rights and justice. It is a pity that their experience is not known abroad.

Russian media are undergoing a crisis. The economic crisis squeezes the space for diversity and many independent voices cannot survive. Print media is forced to find shelter on the Internet, while many have closed. The lack of a transparent market and the domination of the state in the media industry, with its monopoly on distribution, and control of the state advertising market is also a problem.

But the main problem today is a lack of professional solidarity among media actors, weak solidarity among journalists and a lack of awareness among the general public of the importance of independent journalism in their own right and as a public good.

The Russian audience is passive, the recent elections have shown this clearly.

Raising of awareness of journalism as a public good and the business of everyone and developing professional solidarity could be the main tool in overcoming the culture of impunity and pressure on the media freedom.

The Russian Union of Journalists   tries to develop this awareness. On October 7th the RUJ presents a memorial event, and play “Life in Second” based on texts written by Anna Politlovskaya and Yury Shchekochikhin, prepared by  young actors, in the Moscow Journalists Club.

It is important that young people pay attention to those who died for the truth.  It is our hope. Hope that the masterminds behind the killings of Anna and others will be brought to court.  Hope that journalists would no longer face violence and threats, and the Russian audience would support general development of free and responsible media.

The 10 years since Anna’s assassination has been a very tough time for Russian media and Russian journalists.  And it is important to be honest and to realize that the future is dependent on us as well.

Our profession is a profession of everyday choice. It is important to remember. It is important to bring Russian journalism and its independent voices to the international audience. It will also be our tribute to Anna.
Nadezda Azhgikhina,

RUJ Executive Secretary, European Federation of Journalists Vice President
Leer más...


Gender refers to socially constructed identities, attributes and roles for women and men. The term gender is not interchangeable with women. Society’s social and cultural meaning for these biological differences results in hierarchical relationships between women and men, and inthe distribution of power and rights favouring men and disadvantaging women. This social positioning of women and men is affected by political, economic, cultural, social, religious, ideological and environmental factors, and can be changed by culture, society and community. Gender constructions are dynamic and fluid; they change over time and can be different in different cultures. As an example of socially learned differences, women’s role in most societies has traditionally been to take care of the household and the children, whereas the role of men has been to provide for the family by working outside the home. In most societies, these traditional perceptions of women’s and men’s roles have changed and are constantly evolving. Analysing international law and international human rights law from a gender perspective is important, because gender analysis helps us understand how women and men experience human rights violations differently as well as the influence of differences such as age, class, religion, culture and location. It highlights and explores hierarchical and unequal relations and roles between and among males and females, the unequal value given to women’s work, and women’s unequal access to power and decision-making as well as property and resources. Gender mainstreaming or integration helps assess the impact of different laws, policies and programmes on groups of men and women, as explained in the box below.

Gender is also an important term to understand in the context of gender identity.20 Gender identity reflects a deeply felt and experienced sense of one’s own gender, which may or may not conform with the biological sex one is assigned at birth. Gender identity is separate from sexual orientation, which refers to which sex one is attracted to; for instance, many transgender persons are heterosexual.
Leer más...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women requires that women be accorded rights equal to those of men and that women be able to enjoy all their rights in practice. While international human rights treaties refer to “equality”, in other sectors the term “equity” is often used.

The term “gender equity” has sometimes been used in a way that perpetuates stereotypes about women’s role in society, suggesting that women should be treated “fairly” in accordance with the roles that they carry out.18 This understanding risks perpetuating unequal gender relations and solidifying gender stereotypes that are detrimental to women. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has emphasized in its general recommendations and concluding observations on different countries, e.g., in its general recommendation No. 28 (2010) on the core obligations of States parties under article 2 of the Convention, that “States parties are called upon to use exclusively the concepts of equality of women and men or gender equality and not to use the concept of gender equity in implementing their obligations under the Convention.” As the legal term used in the Convention, gender equality cannot be replaced by equity, which is a concept conditioned by subjective criteria.

 Some stakeholders have also favoured the language of equity on the misunderstanding that gender equality means the same or identical treatment of men and women, rather than taking into account the actual circumstances of men and women. As explained above, substantive equality, which is the standard to be met under human rights law, requires measures to achieve equality of results. This may mean that women and men are not always treated in exactly the same manner, in order to redress historical discrimination and/or take account of women’s biological differences.
Leer más...

Monday, October 3, 2016


The Human Rights Committee, in its general comment No. 18 (1989) on non-discrimination, and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in its general comments Nos. 16 (2005) on the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights and 20 (2009) on non-discrimination in economic, social and cultural rights, have also adopted the same principle of substantive equality when guaranteeing non-discrimination and equal enjoyment by men and women of civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural rights.

 The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights explained in its general comment No. 16 (2005) that States parties to the Covenant are obliged to eliminate both direct and indirect discrimination. They must refrain from engaging in discriminatory practices, ensure that third parties do not discriminate in a forbidden manner and take positive action to guarantee women’s equality. The Committee further outlines how the obligation to ensure equality relates to the different provisions of the Covenant. Its general comment No. 20 (2009) also notes the importance of addressing both direct and indirect discrimination in laws, policies and practices, and multiple discrimination, an issue which particularly affects women.

In its general comment No. 28 (2000) on the equality of rights between men and women, the Human Rights Committee explains that States parties must not only remove obstacles to equality, but that they also have obligations to adopt positive measures to ensure equality. It further specifies that “States parties should ensure that traditional, historical, religious or cultural attitudes are not used to justify violations of women’s right to equality before the law and to equal enjoyment of all Covenant rights”. It then outlines specific obligations to ensure women’s equal rights in relation to the various articles of the Covenant.

Leer más...

Saturday, October 1, 2016


Non-discrimination and equality between women and men are central principles of human rights law. Both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex and guarantee women and men equality in the enjoyment of the rights covered by the Covenants. Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also provides for equality before the law and equal protection of the law.
The definition of discrimination in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women encompasses a variety of possible discriminatory actions (any distinction, exclusion or restriction) having either the express purpose or the actual effect of discriminating against women. The Convention goes further than other human rights treaties in also describing in detail the State obligations and actions to be taken to achieve gender equality in practice. It not only requires equality between women and men, but also prohibits practices that can perpetuate women’s inequality. Substantive gender equality and formal gender equality, as well as de facto discrimination and de jure discrimination, are central concepts in the Convention’s equality framework.

Discrimination and inequality can occur in different ways. Discrimination can occur through de jure or direct discriminatory provisions, such as when a law or policy restricts, prefers or distinguishes between certain groups, for instance, prohibiting women from driving, owning land or inheriting property. Ensuring formal equality requires eliminating all instances of de jure discrimination. While much progress has been made to eliminate discriminatory laws, many persist and reforming them should be a matter of the utmost priority for States to comply with their human rights obligations.

Laws, policies or programmes can also have detrimental effects on women even though they appear to be gender-neutral. This is known as de facto discrimination. For instance, aid programmes which distribute benefits to the “head of household” may not benefit women equally since men are often considered the head of a household. Similarly, given women’s disproportionate representation among those living in poverty, a government lending scheme to buy land may be inaccessible to women due to its cost—even if the scheme is open to both men and women.

Achieving substantive equality requires taking both historical inequalities and the present conditions of women in a certain context into account. Substantive equality may consequently require positive action by the State to address the specific disadvantages and needs of women.16 The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women encompasses substantive equality, recognizing that genderneutral laws can have discriminatory effects and that formal equality is not enough to address them. Its article 4 on temporary special measures, the Committee’s general comment No. 25 (2004) on the same topic, as well as article 5 on modifying the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, emphasize a commitment to substantive equality.

Leer más...