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Implementation of Women’s Rights: In between de facto and de jure

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Wood-Legh Room, Lucy Cavendish College

CB3 0BU

United Kingdom

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Join us on 8 June as Professor Dalia Leinarte, Chairperson of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Committee speaks about women's rights globally.

Implementation of Women’s Rights: In between de facto and de jure

In 2015 there were 165 constitutions, that is, 85 percent of all constitutions globally, which guaranteed equality between men and women. However, de facto gender equality has not been implemented in any single country. Today, in parliaments across the globe, women make up on average a little more than 23 percent, and they earn around 23 percent less than their male counterparts. The guarantee of gender equality in the family is even more problematic. For example, in 2015 the Iraq Parliament held debates on a legislation proposal that would allow marrying 9-year old girls. This year, marital age in Iraq was nevertheless set down in line with international standards –18 years old. Today, 40 percent of the world's population lives in countries with restrictive laws on women's sexual and reproductive rights. In El Salvador, where every day around 69 girls fall pregnant as a consequence of sexual exploitation, abortion is banned with no exceptions.

On the other hand, in some countries women's rights are a priority. The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, formed a cabinet with a gender balance of 50-50, while women make up 63 percent of the Parliament in Rwanda. Austria could serve as an example where the Federal Constitution guarantees effective gender equality budgeting. In Germany the Criminal Code outlines punishment for sexual harassment in all areas.

What are the main impediments of elimination of discrimination against women?

About Dalia Leinarte

Dalia Leinarte is Chairperson of the UN CEDAW Committee, Professor of Family History at Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania, and a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, UK. She is author of The Lithuanian Family in its European Context, 1800-1914: Marriage, Divorce and Flexible Communities (Palgrave Macmillan 2017) and Adopting and Remembering Soviet Reality: Life Stories of Lithuanian Women, 1945–1970 (Rodopi/Brill 2010).

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Wood-Legh Room, Lucy Cavendish College

CB3 0BU

United Kingdom

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