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EVENT: 11/16/10: The Importance of the Substantive Equality Approach to Ensuring Women's Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including Sexual and Reproductive Health

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This lunch briefing will provide Committee members with an opportunity to explore: the meaning of substantive equality in relation to women's ESCR, how the Committee can ensure the substantive equality framework is integrated and applied under the emerging General Comment on Sexual and Reproductive Health, how the CEDAW Committee has used and integrated this framework over the last decade, and potential opportunities to move forward.  

The Importance of the Substantive Equality Approach to Ensuring Women's Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including Sexual and Reproductive Health

Ground Floor - Palais Wilson
Tuesday, Nov. 16th, 1:00-2:30pm

The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR Committee) is a critical ally and a strategic mechanism for supporting an integrated and interdependent analysis of women's human rights, which parallels the centrality that economic, social and cultural rights play in women's lives. The recognition the ESCR Committee gives to the unique and disproportionate impact of ESCR violations on women, through its Concluding Observations, General Comments, and in the future under the Optional Protocol, are important tools women are able to use at the national level to demand accountability. Fully integrating the substantive equality framework in the ESCR Committee's interpretation of the rights and obligations under the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ensures that the situation and needs of women are addressed; this is particularly important in the context of sexual and reproductive health - because women's needs are distinct, they are exposed to risks never confronted by men and often face discrimination in accessing services.

This lunch briefing will provide Committee members with an opportunity to explore: (1) the meaning of substantive equality in relation to women's ESCR, (2) how the Committee can ensure the substantive equality framework is integrated and applied under the emerging General Comment on Sexual and Reproductive Health, (3) how the CEDAW Committee has used and integrated this framework over the last decade, and (4) potential opportunities to move forward.  

AGENDA

Introduction: A Coherent and Integrated Approach to Women's ESCR
Rebecca Brown, International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net)

What does Substantive Equality mean for Women's Economic, Social and Cultural Rights under the ICESCR?
Leilani Farha, Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation

Importance of a Substantive Equality Approach on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Ximena Andión Ibañez, Center for Reproductive Rights

Possibilities Moving Forward
Group Discussion with Committee members on some potential opportunities for this work