United Nations: UN Women Launches Initiative to Repeal Laws that Discriminate against Women
Friday, April 12, 2019 1:00 PM

UN Women has published a multi-stakeholder strategy for accelerated action on “Equality in Law for Women and Girls by 2030.” The stakeholders targeted by the strategy include heads of states, ministries of justice, and women’s organizations, among others. In order to prevent and remove discriminatory laws the strategy seeks “for the countries to undertake comprehensive and sector specific legal reforms” in six areas.[1] The six areas of focus are:

  1. Repealing discriminatory laws by comprehensive law reform;
  2. Repealing discriminatory laws in workplaces to promote women’s economic empowerment;
  3. Changes to minimum age of marriage laws in order to prevent child marriage;
  4. Ending laws that do not allow women full nationality and citizenship rights;
  5. Addressing rape laws; and
  6. Repealing laws that promote inequality in family relations.

The strategy gives examples of how 104 countries have “prevented women from working in specific jobs,” 59 countries do not have laws that address sexual harassment in the workplace, in 18 countries husbands can “legally prevent their wives from working.”[2] Other issues brought up are laws that put restrictions on women obtaining passports and laws that prevent women from inheriting land, among others. As noted by Maria Menendez, Under-Secretary General to the United Nations, discriminatory laws further perpetuate gender inequality and harm communities by “spiral[ling] into malnutrition, higher health cost and lower productivity and income.”[3]

Compiled from: Equality in Law for Women and Girls by 2030, UN Women (2019); UN Women and Partners to Launch New Initiative to Repeal Discriminatory Laws Worldwide, UN Women (Mar. 20, 2019).

[1] UN Women, Equality in Law for Women and Girls by 2030, 31 (2019).

[2] Id. at 16.

[3] UN Women and partners launch new initiative to repeal discriminatory laws worldwide, UN Women (Mar. 20, 2019), http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2019/3/news-un-women-and-partners-launch-initiative-to-repeal-discriminatory-laws.