Legal Frameworks for the Empowerment of Rural Women: Case Studies From Across the SDGs – Side Event to the United Nation’s 62nd CSW

© Veronica Smirnoff, Aliska, 2006, Egg Tempera On Wood, 90x70cm,

Rural women, serving as key agents in the eradication of poverty and the achievement of sustainable development, face particularized problems differentiating their lives from urban counterparts. In a largely agricultural setting, issues affecting agricultural production such as access to credit and markets, land ownership, tenure, and inheritance, and natural resource rights take central stage. Article 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms Against Discrimination Against Women, identifying particular rights of women in rural areas, represents recognition within an international treaty of the specialized disadvantages and discrimination encountered by rural women, beyond those of women generally. Yet while efforts at remediation can be found oftentimes in national legislation, discrimination in the law itself, lack of knowledge of the law, and weak implementation, enforcement, and access to justice all prove to be a major barrier in rural settings, where the very rule of law may be fragile or absent.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, by transforming recognized legal and human rights obligations into new development benchmarks, adds new impetus to the drive to craft effective interventions for the legal empowerment of rural women across the spectrum of their challenges. This high level panel illuminates the nexus between the legal empowerment of rural women and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda by examining effective legal interventions that have worked to solve the problems of rural women across several key targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using the tool of the law.

Keynote Speakers:
Dr. Irene Khan, Director-General, International Development Law Organization
Yasmin Batliwala, JP, Chief Executive, Advocates for International Development

Kim Azzarelli, Co-Founder, Seneca Women

High level keynote addresses will be followed by presentation of illustrative case studies and a brief moderated dialogue.

Justine Uvuza, Sr. Land Policy Advisor on Gender of Landesa Rural Development Institute will present on legal initiatives under SDG Target 1.4: “Women’s Rights to Equal Ownership and Control over Land” by Landesa in Rwanda and Liberia.

Dr. Beatrice Duncan, Rule of Law Advisor (Justice and Constitutions), UNWomen

Christine A. Carron, Ad.E., Retired Senior Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada, LLP, President Pro Bono Quebec, Fellow of American College of Trial Lawyers, will present on a pro-bono legal initiative under SDG Target 10.3 to protect rural women from persecution for witchcraft in rural Tanzania in conjunction with HelpAge International.

Sponsoring Association Committee:
United Nations Committee
Michael D. Cooper, Chair
Katherine M. Ball, CSW62 Side Event Coordinator

Co-Sponsoring Association Committee:
International Human Rights Committee, Anil Kalhan, Chair

Co-Sponsoring Organizations

The International Development Law Organization

United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
UN Women

Advocates for International Development

Landesa Land Development Institute

HelpAge International
HelpAge International

Virginia & Ambinder LLP
Virginia & Ambinder LLP

Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law
Bingham Centre

King & Spalding
King & Spalding  WAG