Women's Human Rights: The International and Comparative Law Casebook

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According to Susan Deller Ross, many human rights advocates still do not see women's rights as human rights. Yet women in many countries suffer from laws, practices, customs, and cultural and religious norms that consign them to a deeply inferior status. Advocates might conceive of human rights as involving torture, extrajudicial killings, or cruel and degrading treatment—all clearly in violation of international human rights—and think those issues irrelevant to women. Yet is female genital mutilation, practiced on millions of young girls and even infants, not a gross violation of human rights? When a family decides to murder a daughter in the name of "honor," is that not an extrajudicial killing? When a husband rapes or savagely beats his wife, knowing the legal authorities will take no action on her behalf, is that not cruel and degrading treatment?

Women's Human Rights is the first human rights casebook to focus specifically on women's human rights. Rich with interdisciplinary material, the book advances the study of the deprivation and violence women suffer due to discriminatory laws, religions, and customs that deny them their most fundamental freedoms. It also provides present and future lawyers the legal tools for change, demonstrating how human rights treaties can be used to obtain new laws and court decisions that protect women against discrimination with respect to employment, land ownership, inheritance, subordination in marriage, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, polygamy, child marriage, and the denial of reproductive rights.

Ross examines international and regional human rights treaties in depth, including treaty language and the jurisprudence and general interpretive guidelines developed by human rights bodies. By studying how international human rights law has been and can be implemented at the domestic level through local courts and legislatures, readers will understand how to call upon these newly articulated human rights to help bring about legislation, court decisions, and executive action that protect women from human rights violations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A definitive text on a topic both timely and timeless, Women's Human Rights is an indispensable resource for all who care about gender and justice in any part of the world."—Madeleine K. Albright, former Secretary of State

"Susan Deller Ross has provided us with an important addition to existing human rights law teaching materials with her casebook on women's human rights. The book brings the complex array of legal, political, social, and cultural issues involved in protecting women's human rights front and center for students and teachers of international law. The case book demonstrates that, because of their reach and their complexity, women's human rights deserve to be studied in and of themselves not just as one segment of an international human rights course. Providing a holistic picture of the status of women in international law, the casebook offers equal doses of the legal gains we are making and how far there still is to go."—Human Rights Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812220919
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/21/2009
  • Series: Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 704
  • Sales rank: 936,365
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Deller Ross is Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center and Founder and Director of the International Women's Human Rights Clinic at Georgetown. RossRights.com is an an online documentary supplement to Women's Human Rights: The International and Comparative Law Casebook.

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Table of Contents

Using This Book

Chapter 1. Women's Status and CEDAW
I. Women's Human Rights: An Introduction
II. Women's Status Around the World
III. The Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
IV. Case Study: Afghanistan

Chapter 2. Equality Doctrines and Gender Discrimination: The Evolving Jurisprudence of the UN Human Rights Committee and the U.S. Supreme Court
I. Early International Sources of Women's Human Rights
II. The UN Human Rights Committee: Its Role and Function
III. Equality Doctrines, Gender, and the United States Supreme Court: A Comparative Standard

Chapter 3. The Interrelationship of the ICCPR and the ICESCR; and the Human Rights Committee's Evolving Equal Protection Doctrine
I. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
II. Applying Equal Protection to Different Sex-Based Statutes
III. Case Study: Philippine Family Law

Chapter 4. Conflicting Human Rights Under International Law: Freedom of Religion Versus Women's Equality Rights
I. Comparison of Religious Fundamentalist Norms in Five Religions
II. The UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights
III. Religious Freedom and Women's Rights Under the ICCPR and CEDAW
IV. A Comparative View of How the Conflict Between Religious Freedom and Women's Rights Is Resolved Under the U.S. Constitution

Chapter 5. Enforcing Women's International Human Rights Under Regional Treaties: The American Convention on Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights
I. Introduction to the American Convention on Human Rights
II. A Challenge to Costa Rica's Gender-Based Nationality Law
III. Case Study: Costa Rican Nationality Law Revisited in a Costa Rican Court
IV. Other Women's Issues in the American System
V. Introduction to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights
VI. The Relevance to Women of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights

Chapter 6. Enforcing Women's International Human Rights Under Regional Treaties: The [European] Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
I. Introduction to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
II. Using the European Convention

Chapter 7. Economic Empowerment and Employment Discrimination: Europe and the United States Compared
I. Women's Economic Empowerment
II. The European System
III. The United States System

Chapter 8. The Special Treatment Versus Equal Treatment Debate
I. The International Labour Organization
II. Special Treatment Versus Equal Treatment in the Context of Childbirth and Childcare

Chapter 9. CEDAW in Practice
I. Egypt as Case Study: CEDAW's Effectiveness in Addressing the Subordination of Women in Marriage
II. Strategies for Using CEDAW to Effect Change at Home

Chapter 10. Enforcing Women's International Rights at Home: International Law in Domestic Courts
I. The Relationship Between National and International Law: Theory
II. Applying the International Right to Equal Treatment Without Regard to Gender in Domestic Courts
III. Applying the International Right Against Slavery and Slave-like Practices in a Domestic Court

Chapter 11. Strategies to Combat Domestic Violence
I. Domestic Violence and "Honor Crimes"
II. Holding the State Responsible for Private Violence
III. International and Regional Law Concerning Domestic Violence
IV. Examples of Different State Mechanisms in Action

Chapter 12. Strategies for Ending Female Genital Mutilation and Footbinding: Western Imperialism or Women's Human Rights?
I. Cultural Relativism
II. FGM: The Practice, Its Consequences, and Its Prevalence
III. Footbinding—Comparing Two Movements
IV. Breast Implants: Female Breast Mutilation?
V. National Legal Approaches: What Works?

Chapter 13. Gender and Polygyny—Religion, Culture, and Equality in Marriage
I. An Introduction to the Practice of Polygyny
II. Women's Voices
III. Equal Protection Versus Religious Freedom
IV. Perspectives on Polygyny
V. A Case Study: Uganda
VI. Resolving the Polygyny Question

Chapter 14. Women's Reproductive Rights
I. Introduction
II. Abortion: Women's Autonomy Versus Fetal Life
III. Sex-Selective Abortion: A Conflict of Interests
IV. Child Marriage and Reproductive Rights

Table of Cases
Acronyms and Short Forms
Credits and Permissions

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