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Women's Human Rights

  • Intensive two-day course (last ran June 2015)

This unique and original two day course examines the international human rights law framework that guarantees the rights of women and critically evaluates its potential to challenge core obstacles undermining the effective protection of women’s rights in the world today.

The international human rights system has adopted both general human rights standards and specific human rights norms to eliminate discrimination against women and to guarantee their substantive rights. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (the Women’s Convention), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is widely referred to as an international bill of rights for women. The Women’s Convention – and the UN Committee responsible for its interpretation and implementation – arguably interpret the normative international human rights framework more creatively than any other international human rights treaty or body. And yet entrenched discrimination against women persists worldwide, with women suffering human rights violations on the grounds of their gender on a daily basis. So what has the Women’s Convention achieved to date and what role does it have to play in challenging the multiple obstacles that prevent millions of women across the globe from accessing and enjoying their basic rights? This short course will examine these fundamental questions and consider what value the international human rights framework has for securing women’s rights at the domestic level. 

Course components

  • The international human rights framework for guaranteeing women's rights
  • Economic and social rights of women: access to education, health and reproductive choices 
  • Violence against women: rape, sexual violence and intimate partner violence
  • Protection of displaced women: asylum, immigration and anti-trafficking
  • Women's rights in practice: working with marginalised women
  • Political participation of women at local, national and international levels

Why take this course?

  • Provides an overview of international human rights law, including general human rights standards to eliminate discrimination against women
  • Explains the specific framework for the protection of women's rights in international law through a series of seminars and case studies
  • Examines from a human rights perspective how to challenge obstacles undermining women's enjoyment of basic human rights
  • Addresses substantive issues of women's rights today
  • Provides access to leading human rights practitioners and academics


The course is convened and led by Jane Gordon, with specialist sessions taught by other expert practitioners. In 2015 they were:

  • Professor Christine Chinkin - founding director of the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security, emeritus professor of International Law and world-renowned expert in women's rights. 
  • Kathryn Cronin - barrister at Garden Court Chambers with an extensive and varied immigration, asylum and family law practice. She has considerable experience in areas where family or childcare cases involve issues on immigration status, and immigration cases where there are family and childcare law and practice considerations. She is known for her representation of vulnerable clients, in particular asylum and human rights cases involving women and children, and has represented many persons trafficked for sexual or domestic labour purposes.
  • Jane Gordon - independent human rights barrister with over 15 years’ experience working in human rights law, policy and practice at the domestic, regional and international levels. An accredited gender and sexual violence expert, Jane served as gender advisor/sexual and gender based violence investigator with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria in 2013/2014. Jane is a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Human Rights and co-founder and Legal Director of  Sisters for Change.
  • Dr Aitemad Muhanna-Matar - research fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre, from where she has managed a five-country project on women’s political participation across the Arab region, mapping existing and emerging forces. Dr Muhanna-Matar's PhD thesis examined the effects of the Palestinian second intifada on women’s agency, and contributed to challenging conceptions of women’s empowerment. It was published as Agency and Gender in Gaza: Masculinity, Femininity and Family during the Second Intifada  (Ashgate, 2013)  

Fees and administration

  1. Standard individual rate: £990 
  2. Concessionary rate for voluntary sector organisations & students): £740
  3. The Centre is able to offer up to five subsidised places, at £495, in support of those who would otherwise be unable to take the course.

All details refer to the 2015 course and are subject to change

Further queries

While we welcome participants from overseas, the Centre is regrettably not able to provide any additional assistance, financial or practical, in the securing of travel to, or accommodation in, London.

Frequently asked questions about the course