Women’s equality rights times three

This paper explores three concepts – federalism, gender and diversity – that might frame the campaigns to constitutionalize women’s equality rights in Canada. Organized women participated in three such campaigns between 1980 and 2008. The campaigns ended with three virtually identical declarations of equality, one each in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Constitution Act 1982 and the Quebec Charter of human rights and freedoms. However the women’s campaigns that produced them are distinguishable. On the one hand, different women’s organizations – national, indigenous and Quebec – took primary responsibility for each campaign. On the other hand, these women’s organizations singled out different entities – national, indigenous and multicultural – that opposed their equality-seeking. The puzzle I identify is how to conceptualize diversity – indigenous and multicultural – in this context which is conventionally framed by the concepts of federalism and gender.

Ensuring Gender Equality in Parliaments: The Hidden Opportunities of Electoral Law

Although it has been decades since women gained the right to vote in most societies, they are still underrepresented in decision-making bodies. Women have over a quarter of seats in just 66 out of 193 legislatures of the World, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union data. The most common approach to ensuring gender equality is the introduction of quotas for parliamentary candidates. Yet, this solution can have an unintended effect of preventing the establishment of Feminist parties. My paper argues that an alternative option is to use the opportunities in proportional electoral systems, used in majority of countries. These systems usually provide bonuses, which translate in extra parliamentary seats. They either grant an additional advantage to the winning party or offset regional disparities. I will argue that such bonuses can also be used to enhance gender equality in parliament. Such a measure would mostly affect major political parties, thus giving it a synergistic impact.


The paper aims to analyse the Third Sector and its link with the promotion of women’s political participation in Brazil, by the case of “Institution politics by.from.for women”.Created in 2015 as a research project at an University, it has been transformed in a non-lucrative association in 2018.It’s an initiative of women who wish to broaden women’s political participation in all its plurality and diversity, in spaces previously occupied by men. Among the activities carried out by the Group are: Courses of Initiation to Political Training for Women (regular and summer school) and Research Meetings held with the theme of gender. The preliminary results are: (i)the candidacy of two students for positions of elicitation; (ii)one student assumed the women’s rights directorate in the Paraná state government; (iii)the network made by the students promotes a socialization and connection that helps propagate the idea of feminine empowerment;(iv) partnerships with other groups.


This paper seeks to understand motherhood as a relevant gender issue in shaping women’s human rights, taking the norms of protection against discrimination on grounds of pregnancy in Articles 11 and 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) as a starting point for affirming a fundamental right to obstetric care, seeking to understand it as an instrument to combat violence and discrimination against women in reproductive health, delimiting how this right has been interpreted and applied in the experience of higher courts in Brazil, confronting it with the constitutional predictions on women’s social rights and the legal frameworks of women’s reproductive health, and outlining how the decisions of the CEDAW committee in the cases Alyne Pimentel da Silva v. Brazil and Elizabeth de Blok et al. The Netherlands can contribute to broadening the protection and enforcement of this right in the judicial sphere.

Courts and non-discrimination law: Reinforcing or challenging gender norms?

The dominant understanding of ‘gender’ in law is harmful. Through analysis of practices of infant genital modification, this paper shows how law strengthens sex dichotomy and maintains hierarchical gender order. The practices discussed are female genital mutilation, ritual male circumcision, and so-called normalising genital surgery of intersex children.

Regardless international human rights norms and national penal codes, children are exposed to violations of bodily integrity as their genitalia can be altered due to their culture. Law fails to recognise children as individuals if their bodies do not comply with the cultural understanding of male and female sex.

Building on Judith Butler’s theory, however, this paper explores law’s potential to challenge oppressive gender norms. Accordingly, the paper advocates for non-discrimination law provided that feminist (legal) theory is taken seriously. ‘Sex’ should be denaturalised, open to future articulation, not least in court practices.

Non-Binary Gender and Binary Legal Thinking: The Birth of a New Legal Mindset?

The Babylonian Talmud states that “The one Law has become two laws” – a saying probably caused by an increasing number of disputations among legal scholars. During the 18th century, science also changed its theoretical understanding of gender from a “one-sex” to a “two-sex” model and henceforth “one sex became two sexes”. Today, however, there are several jurisdictions, like Canada, Germany and Austria, where courts have begun to legally recognize a non-binary conception of a so-called third gender. Based on the ruling by the Austrian Constitutional Court in June 2018 and other cases, the present paper therefore asks to what extent “two laws” are now on the verge of becoming “three”? This paper understands “three laws” as referring to a possible the trend toward a gradual deviation from a purely binary mode of reasoning in line with bivalent logic in law and in life. Put briefly, it speculates to what extent it forebodes the (necessity for the) birth of a new legal mind-set.