Gender equality and violence against women
This collection brings together all my written work on gender equality, including sexual and gender-based violence, reproductive rights, and more.
Abortion rights: Regressive developments in Poland and US go against global trend
In Poland, pregnant people face heightened scrutiny following an order from the Health Minister, signed in early June, requiring doctors to register all pregnancies in the country. Information collected will include past or current illnesses, medical visits, treatment and blood type. In light of Poland’s near-total abortion ban, there are fears the register could be weaponised to monitor pregnancy outcomes and persecute women suspected of having abortions or suspected abortion providers – particularly as the information can be accessed by the Polish prosecutor’s office through a court order.
Declining fertility rates and the threat to human rights
Facing low fertility rates that could undermine labour forces and social structures, governments are pursuing labour reforms, immigration expansion and pronatalist policies. Global Insight explores the impact of such policies on human rights and gender equality.
Column: Bearing witness - the Uyghur Tribunal hears claims of genocide
Over the past year, the Uyghur Tribunal in London has broken with tradition by hearing evidence of an alleged genocide while the atrocity is said to be ongoing. As the Tribunal prepares to hand down its judgment on whether China is committing genocide against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, Global Insight reviews the proceedings.
Has Covid-19 tipped the scales of gender equality backwards?
When lockdowns first arrived, the enforced flexibility of working from home full-time was hailed as a game-changer for gender equity in corporate workplaces. COVID-19 was imagined to be the great leveller: an opportunity for all genders to equally share household chores and home-schooling, or balance extracurricular duties and volunteering while retaining full-time jobs with flexible hours. If that has been the result, why do women still report bearing the brunt of unpaid domestic work?
LGBTI rights: transfemicide ruling has far-reaching implications across Latin America
In late June, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that the state of Honduras was responsible for the death of transwoman and activist Vicky Hernández, in the first transfemicide case to come before the Court.
Pandemic accelerates need for comprehensive efforts to tackle child marriage
By disrupting children’s education and exposing families to financial crises, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the threat of human rights violations like child marriage around the world. Research by the United Nations Population Fund and partners estimates that an additional 13 million child marriages will take place between 2020 and 2030, which would not have occurred were it not for the pandemic.
US Supreme Court: death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spurs battle for civil rights
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, longstanding Justice of the United States Supreme Court and pioneering civil rights defender, died on 18 September. As her passing comes weeks before the 2020 US elections, a fraught battle for her seat on the Court has ignited, with President Donald Trump determined to fill the vacancy and increase the Court’s conservative majority to six-three.
Genocide: China’s reported persecution of Uighurs exposes states’ legal obligations under international conventions
Over the past three years, witness testimonies, investigations, leaked footage, papers and data have painted a picture of systematic state persecution of the Uighur population in China’s Xinjiang region...
Sexual violence: CPS faces allegation of dropping rape cases to boost prosecution rates
In June, the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) began legal action against the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), alleging that the CPS has secretly adopted a policy of dropping ‘weak’ rape cases or changed its decision-making practice in order to boost prosecution ‘success’ rates...
Sexual violence in conflict: Trump administration’s stance on UN Resolution attracts widespread criticism
On 23 April 2019 the UN Security Council adopted a Resolution calling for the ‘complete cessation with immediate effect by all parties to armed conflict of all acts of sexual violence’...
Sexual offence laws: Ireland launches review of complainant protections in rape trials
Reviews of sexual offences legislation are being undertaken in both Ireland and Northern Ireland following a recent trial involving high-profile sportsmen that prompted considerable media coverage and serious concern globally over the treatment of all parties...
Violence against women: UK ratifies Istanbul Convention but excludes protection for migrants
The UK ratified the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (known as the ‘Istanbul Convention’) in late July, ten years after first signing it.
However, the UK has been criticised for reserving the right not to be bound by Article 59, which compels states to protect migrant women whose residency status is dependent on that of an abusive spouse or partner, including by suspending deportation proceedings to allow victims to apply for residence permits.
Abortion rights: Leaked opinion suggests US Supreme Court will overturn 50 years of precedent
On 2 May, a draft majority opinion showing that the US Supreme Court intends to overturn 49 years of a constitutional right to abortion was leaked to the public. The opinion on the case before the Court, Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, reads: ‘The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision’.
Independent tribunal finds China has committed genocide against Uyghur Muslims
An independent people’s tribunal has found that China has committed genocide, torture and crimes against humanity against the Uyghur Muslims and other Turkic minorities. The Uyghur Tribunal in London delivered its judgment in early December after 18 months of analysing reports, documents, publicly heard witness testimony and other evidence.
Feature: Fighting transfemicide in the Americas
In Honduras and across Latin America, transgender women don’t tend to live past 35. Thanks to social stigma reinforced by a lack of rights and legal protections, they face extreme violence and limitations on the scope of their lives.
The murder of one trans woman – Vicky Hernández – over 12 years ago has shone a spotlight on the deadly nature of state-sanctioned discrimination. Now, the landmark ruling in her case could change the lives of transgender people across the Americas.
International rule of law: historic firsts in ICC’s conviction of Dominic Ongwen
In early February, the International Criminal Court (ICC or the ‘Court’) convicted former child soldier and Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen of 61 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in northern Uganda between July 2002 and December 2005.
Feature: The great regression
The rights of half of the world’s population are threatened thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic and a state-driven backlash against gender equality. Global Insight explores recent regressions in the rights of women, the connection to the rise of nationalistic populism, and how best to counter this rollback.
Column: Inequality before the law
Lady Justice is often depicted blindfolded to represent key tenets of the rule of law: independence and impartiality. These ideals are enshrined in Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: ‘All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.’ But reality tells a very different story.
Reproductive rights: abortion decriminalised in Northern Ireland but women’s rights under siege elsewhere
At the end of October, abortion was decriminalised in Northern Ireland. A framework providing legal access to abortion must now be in place by 31 March 2020. Until then, women in Northern Ireland can acquire pills and other means to terminate pregnancies, and doctors are not required to report them for doing so.