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Women's Human Rights

  • Intensive two-day course (1 - 2 June 2017)

This unique and original two day course examines the international legal framework that guarantees the human 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 women’s 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 human 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 legal framework for guaranteeing women's human rights
  • International standards to combat violence against women: rape, sexual violence and intimate partner violence
  • Economic and social rights of women: access to education, health and reproductive rights
  • Religion and women’s rights
  • Protection of displaced women: asylum, immigration and anti-trafficking
  • Intersectional discrimination and substantive equality
  • Women's rights in practice: improving access to justice for marginalised women

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


In 2017 the course is convened by Dr Louise Arimatsu, with specialist sessions taught by other expert practitioners. In 2016 experts included:

  • Professor Farida Banda, SOAS - expert in family law, women's rights and religion and law in Africa

  • Professor Christine Chinkin - founding Director of the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security, emeritus professor of International Law at the LSE

  • Alison Gordon OBE - Executive Director, Sisters for Change. Alison worked for ten years in the technology sector before joining the British Foreign Office, where she worked in the Middle East, South America and South Asia. 

  • Jane Gordon -  Visiting Senior Fellow at the LSE and Legal Director, Sisters for Change.  Jane has worked in human rights law, policy and practice at the domestic, regional and international levels for the last 18 years.  An accredited gender and sexual violence expert, Jane served as gender advisor/sexual and gender based violence investigator to the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria in 2013/2014

  • Louise Hooper - Louise is a Barrister at Garden Court Chambers and is a specialist immigration lawyer focusing on asylum and human rights cases.  She undertakes advocacy at every level, from adjudicator appeals to judicial review applications.  Her notable work includes the conduct of important test cases concerning the status of Kosovan asylum seekers.  She was also involved with the Refugee Legal Group's lobbying and representations to parliament regarding new immigration legislation.  She is increasingly concerned with providing legal access to financial and welfare support for refugees. 

Fees and administration

  1. Standard individual rate: £990 Register here
  2. Concessionary rate for voluntary sector organisations & students: £740 Register here
  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. Apply (MS word doc)   

Subsidised places for those who would otherwise be unable to attend: Applications for subsidised places will be competitively assessed together after the amended deadline of Noon, Monday 03 April 2017, and places will be awarded on the basis of merit and financial need.   

Priority will be given to those working in non-governmental or voluntary sector organisations who are able to demonstrate a clear benefit to that organisation beyond their personal education and professional development.                         

Please note that if your application for a subsidised place is not successful you will not be guaranteed a full-price place on the course. Standard places are booked on a first-come first-served basis.           

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