UN Special Rapporteur's appraisal of sexist UK causes stramash
If you've caught a newspaper, TV news report, or spent any time on social media over the last few days, you cannot have failed to notice the storm of protest that greeted Professor Rashida Manjoo's determination that there was sexism going on in the UK.
Professor Manjoo is the UN's Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, an independent and unpaid position with a mandate to identify the causes and consequences of violence against women within a state, and make recommendations for its elimination. The Special Rapporteur reports to the Human Rights Council.
The UN is not famous for pith, and the press statement issued at the end of the mission runs to nine pages. (This is not her final word on violence against women in the UK: she will report to the Human Rights Council in June 2015.) It was this statement that was so comprehensively misrepresented by some sections of the press.
Engender was one of a group of women's organisations in Scotland that contributed to an NGO briefing for the Special Rapporteur, co-ordinated by Scottish Women's Aid. We also jointly hosted, along with Scottish Women's Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland, a session for Scottish NGOs to give evidence to the Rapporteur.
Professor Majoo was informed, engaged, and on top of some of the challenges presented by the constitutional arrangements of the UK. The difference in women's experiences between jurisdications across the four nations is captured in her press statement.
Her findings reflect many of the concerns that women's organisations in Scotland work directly around. These include:
- Gender neutrality. The Rapporteur identifies Scotland as working against the grain of the UK, in which gender neutral approaches to violence against women predominate. Scotland's gendered approach is welcomed.
- The enabling environment of women's inequality. The news release reflects the Rapporteur's understanding that women's economic inequality, low pay, experience of 'welfare reform' and underrepresentation in politicial and policy spaces, enables men's violence against women.
- The different experiences of black and minority ethnic women and asylum-seeking women. The Rapporteur was prevented from visiting Yarl's Wood, but did hear evidence from a number of organisations, including the Scottish Refugee Council, on the particularly poor experiences of BME women, women in detention, and asylum seeking women.
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Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women Concluding Observations 2013 The concluding observations (recommendations) of the CEDAW Committee, following its examination of the UK in 2013.
Engender CEDAW Pre-hearing Statement Engender's statement to the pre-session working group, which took place in November 2012.
Engender Questions for CEDAW Examination of the UK NGOs can submit questions to the CEDAW Committee in advance of the examination of their governments.
Engender Refreshed Shadow ICESCR Report Engender's refreshed shadow report to the 6th periodic report of the UK Government to the UN's Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Engender Shadow CEDAW Report Engender's shadow report to the 7th periodic report of the UK Government to the UN's CEDAW Committee.
Engender Shadow ICESCR Report Engender's shadow report to the 6th periodic report of the UK Government to the UN's Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Engender Statement on UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Engender's statement to the UN's Universal Periodic Review process.
European Women’s Lobby General Assembly 2012 - Notes Engender's notes of proceedings from the European Women's Lobby General Assembly in 2012.
Scottish NGO Briefing for UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Joint briefing paper for the UN Rapporteur on Violence Against Women.
Scottish NGO Commission on the Status of Women 57 Statement This is a joint submission to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 57th meeting in 2012.
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