WOMEN AND ESCR - April 2011


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View the web page for Women and ESCR work.

Claiming Women's Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights: UN Advocacy

A second briefing in a series with the CEDAW Committee on women's ESCR was organized together with IWRAW Asia Pacific and the Center for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) on October 19, 2010. It focused on using the substantive equality framework to analyze the scope and obligations for women's ESCR under CEDAW, including in communications to OP-CEDAW. A research paper was prepared by Alison Aggarwal for IWRAW Asia Pacific analyzing the CEDAW Committee's work on ESCR issues from 1992-2008 to ground the discussion in the actual work of the Committee to date. Leilani Farha of CERA then presented on how the Committee can more explicitly use the substantive equality framework in its work on Women's ESCR, particularly under the Optional Protocol. It was also noted, that until the OP-ICESCR enters into force, OP-CEDAW will remain the most critical mechanism available for advancing jurisprudence on women's ESC rights. In addition to the research paper, Shadow Reporting Guidelines on Women's ESCR under CEDAW and ICESCR, developed by ESCR-Net and IWRAW Asia Pacific, and the Montreal Principles and the Guide to the Montreal Principles on Women's ESCR were presented to the Committee members.

On November 16, 2010, the Women and ESCR group held its first briefing with the UN ESCR Committee, organized in conjunction with IWRAW Asia Pacific, Center for Reproductive Rights and CERA. This briefing was held during the November periodic review session, immediately following the Day of General Discussion on Sexual and Reproductive Health to support the development of a General Comment on this issue. Therefore, this briefing was focused on the importance of the substantive equality approach to ensuring women's ESCR, including sexual and reproductive health. In the discussion with CESCR members, they were highly engaged on the question of what a substantive approach under the OP-ICESCR would look like, particularly in terms of procedural rules such as exhaustion of domestic remedies. Members also highlighted the need for a methodology for work (such as a checklist of indicators or needs assessment list) which would also capture the particular experiences of women once they begin examining communications under the OP-ICESCR.



Claiming Women's Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights: Advocacy and Litigation Support

Since 2008, the Women and ESCR group has been working on advancing space for effective advocacy and litigation on women's ESCR. In addition to the targeted UN advocacy discussed above, ESCR-Net in conjunction with IWRAW Asia Pacific is currently in the process of developing a Guide to Advocacy and Strategic Litigation on Women's ESCR under OP-ICESCR and OP-CEDAW. A pilot-testing and capacity-building workshop was organized, described below. We are hopeful the guide will be available for electronic download later this year and will provide and update in the next newsletter.

  • Workshop: Claiming Women's Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Pilot-testing and Capacity Building Workshop

On December 3-6, 2010, ESCR-Net and IWRAW Asia Pacific organized a workshop in Penang, Malaysia, entitled Claiming Women's Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Pilot-testing and Capacity Building Workshop on Bringing Women's ESCR Claims before CEDAW/OP-CEDAW and ICESCR/OP-ICESCR. This workshop was intended to bring together some of the leading figures in the field of Women's ESCR and those interested in working more on these issues to discuss opportunities and challenges in using ICESCR/OP-ICESCR and CEDAW/OP-CEDAW. There were 20 participants in the workshop and included a cross-section of experts on women's ESCR and litigation as well as those newer to the field. The feedback gained from this diverse gathering will help us to ensure the guide is both accessible and makes a substantive contribution to litigation and advocacy in this field. 


Caselaw Database

One new case on women's ESCR has been added to ESCR-Net's Caselaw database - the Laxmi Mandal case on maternal mortality.

For all cases related to women's economic, social and cultural rights on the Caselaw Database, click here.


If you are interested in being involved in the projects of the Women's ESCR Group, please visit the group's webpage or email Rebecca Brown at rbrown@escr-net.org. To share information or strategies with other Women's ESCR advocates subscribe to the Women and ESCR Discussion Group.



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