Oral statement on the Report of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women

June 23, 2015

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom welcomes the report of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, examining discrimination against women and girls in cultural and family life. The report confirms the inadequateness of Res 26/11 on the Protection on the Family, for disregarding the rights of women to equality inside the family.

The report affirms WILPF’s position on Res 26/11, which symbolises a step backwards in the fight against gender-based discrimination and violence. Families play an important role in our societies. However, supporting them as a whole instead of a focus on individual family members negates the fact that families may also generate discrimination and abuses internally. Certain family forms reflect patriarchal structures, leading to domestic violence and other types of gender-based violence.

The report of the working group highlights the cultural construction of gender-based stereotypes that perpetuate a patriarchal family system based on the discrimination of women and girls inside the family. To counter this social construct, states have an obligation to adopt appropriate measures to eliminate all forms of gender-based discrimination and violence in laws, cultural practices, and the family to ensure the right to equality of women and girls.

Moreover, to ensure effectiveness and avoid marginalisation, diverse forms of families have to be acknowledged. We need to distinguish two kinds: unacceptable discriminatory family forms like polygamy; and non-discriminatory forms that need recognition, such as single-parented, interreligious, intergenerational, or same-sex families.

Hence, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom urges the Human Rights Council to support and implement the recommendations of the report on discrimination against women in law and in practice. In order to guarantee women’s fundamental rights within the family, there needs to be a focus on:

  • The establishment of a national legal framework recognising gender equality in cultural and family life.
  • The establishment of an essential framework of minimum legal protection for all types of families, including self-created or self-defined families.

Thank you.

Family Gender Based Violence Human Rights Sexual Violence Human Rights Council Statement

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