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:
‘Knowing Me; Knowing You: Is this the best we can do for cohabiting couples? Engender has responded to the Scottish Law Commission's consultation on reforms to the law governing cohabitation in Scotland. This blog, from Engender's Policy and Parliamentary Manager Eilidh Dickson, sets out why equality in cohabitation is a feminist issue.
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