A Resource Guide to Advancing Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Using the Optional Protocol and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Optional Protocol and International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.
This Guide is one of several initiatives aimed at bringing greater recognition and accountability to violations of women’s economic, social and cultural rights. The Guide seeks to provide a practical tool for activists and lawyers to advance the protection and fulfilment of women’s ESC rights through the use of CEDAW and ICESCR’s normative framework and procedures in complimentary and mutually reinforcing ways.
The realisation of women’s ESC rights implicates the norms enshrined in the nine international human rights treaties and in particular in the CEDAW and the ICESCR. While, it is important to work with all treaties, this Guide focuses on CEDAW and ICESCR as the two most relevant treaties. However, for women experiencing multiple discriminations, such as women with disabilities, racialised women or migrant women, conventions such as CRPD, CRC and CERD, will also be critical. Both CEDAW and the ICESCR through their normative framework and the specific expertise of their expert Committees, contribute to a greater understanding of the intersection between discrimination against women and barriers to women’s enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural rights. Using this analysis and expertise in tandem can provide a powerful tool for holding States accountable to fulfilling women’s enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural rights.
Activists and lawyers have a key role to play in advancing human rights discourse and standards on women’s economic, social and cultural rights. When engaging with the reporting and complaints procedures under CEDAW and ICESCR and their Optional Protocols, activists and lawyers can advance a gender-sensitive analysis of substantive economic, social and cultural rights and their relationship to the fulfilment of women’s right to equality. Further, this Guide will encourage and support women’s rights advocates, activist and lawyers to take action to bring accountability to violation of women’s economic, social and cultural rights and advance enjoyment of their rights. This Resource Guide aims to bring greater accountability and protection to women’s economic, social and cultural rights by encouraging and supporting activists and lawyers to use CEDAW and CESCR in their national and international advocacy to advance women’s human rights. This Guide also seeks to celebrate women’s significant and often unrecognized contribution to economic, social and cultural life and hopes through the use of the mechanisms presented here, women’s rights advocates can advance recognition and visibility of these contributions.
This guide lays out how organizations and individuals can use CEDAW and its OP as well as the ICESCR and its OP to implement women’s economic, social and cultural rights. The manual also discusses how an Optional Protocol case might be framed, and what should be considered when determining which venue is most appropriate for the claim. The process of claiming one’s rights requires strong collaboration between lawyers, and advocates, and the communities and women whose rights have been violated. This manual is intended to be a practical resource to inform the work of advocates, including lawyers, litigators and activists, to seek redress for human rights violations.