Women, gender and international human rights: An overview
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Reilly, Niamh. (2019). Women, gender and international human rights: An overview. In: Reilly N. (eds) International Human Rights of Women. International Human Rights. Springer, Singapore.
This chapter reviews the many achievements of the last 25 years − expressed in the proliferation of laws, norms, and mechanisms − to advance the human rights of women and LGBTQI people and considers in five subsections what is required to achieve their implementation. First, it appraises the major achievement of ending the invisibility of myriad forms of gender-based violence (GBV) and expanding the contexts in which GBV is understood as a complex violation of human rights and, in some situations, a war crime and crime against humanity. Second, it traces a growing consensus that implementation of the human rights of women is inextricable from putting into practice recognition of the indivisibility of human rights. Third, it considers fresh discussions of the supposed binary of “universal human rights” versus and “culture,” concluding that the construct denies the gender harms perpetuated by patriarchal cultures across “the West” and distracts attention from the imperative that human rights implementation must be context-specific in every part of the world. Fourth, it is argued, any twenty-first-century agenda for the human rights of women must proceed from a critical, intersectional perspective – one that recognizes that different women and LGBTQI people experience gender-based disadvantage or oppression differently. Moreover, the concepts of intersectionality and vulnerability deployed in this endeavor must focus on the state and non-state actions required to create conditions that ameliorate vulnerability, and in which differently situated women can access and enjoy their human rights. Finally, implementation of commitments to the human rights of women must address root causes – that is, seek to transform the institutions and structural conditions that perpetuate the disadvantages and unequal power relations that foster vulnerability to abuses of human rights in the first place.