Women's Rights

29 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2010

See all articles by Dianne Otto

Dianne Otto

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Law School

Date Written: March 22, 2010


International human rights law prohibits discrimination against women in their enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. While non-discrimination is an essential component to the realisation of women’s rights, its comparative approach measures women’s equality against men’s enjoyment of rights, reinforcing the masculinity of the universal subject of human rights law, whose rights are fully promoted and explicitly protected. To the extent that violations experienced exclusively or primarily by women are expressly recognised in the founding human rights instruments, they are treated as a sub-category of the universal and formulated as ‘protective’ measures rather than as human rights. There have been many efforts to address the resulting marginalisation of women’s rights, including the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the mainstreaming of women’s human rights. While these efforts have been successful in many respects, there are continuing conceptual and practical problems including, not only the limitations of anti-discrimination law, but the danger that specific recognition of women’s rights violations may simply reproduce women’s secondary status.

Keywords: International Law, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Anti-Discrimintion Law

JEL Classification: K00, K33, K39

Suggested Citation

Otto, Dianne L., Women's Rights (March 22, 2010). U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 459. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1576229 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1576229

Dianne L. Otto (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
61 3 8344-4063 (Phone)
61 3 9347 2392 (Fax)

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