Women’s Access to Justice

Two members of the women’s group and the ‘Peace Village’ in Surabaya, Indonesia at a training event in April 2021. Photo: Wahid Foundation/UN Women
Two members of the women’s group and the ‘Peace Village’ in Surabaya, Indonesia at a training event in April 2021. Photo: Wahid Foundation/UN Women

Women’s Access to Justice is a conceptual framework for providing women with laws and remedies to enforce their rights under national and international law.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) will remain merely an unenforceable promise unless justice systems are made more gender-responsive in practice. To do this long-standing gender discrimination needs to be addressed all along the justice chain.

Women’s Access to Justice is a conceptual framework for providing women with laws and remedies to enforce their rights under national and international law. However, a focus on policies and legislation alone is not enough. Transformational change is called for: bringing about systematic change in legal frameworks hand-in-hand with change in social and cultural norms, engaging entire communities.

UN Women promotes a comprehensive and people-centred approach to create an environment where women can seek remedies without fear of negative consequences.

 

Learn more about our approach

 

Enhancing Women’s Access to Justice in Asia and the Pacific: Bridging the gap between formal and informal systems through women’s empowerment

UN Women, in partnership with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), is implementing a five-year programme, generously funded by the Government of Sweden, entitled “Enhancing Access to Justice for Women in Asia and the Pacific: Bridging the gap between formal and informal systems through women’s empowerment”.

The Women’s Access to Justice programme focuses on three output areas:


The aim of the partnership is to strengthen the gender responsiveness of justice providers within the formal system and at the community level, while at the same time engaging women’s organizations, women human rights defenders and entire communities to change social norms and to create an enabling environment for women to realize their rights.


Thematic focus areas 2021

The following themes, interlinking the programme’s output areas, are central to our implementation activities in 2021 across the priority countries.

 

Read more about the initiatives under the thematic focus areas in our quarterly brief

Photo: UN Women/Pornvit Visitoran
Photo: UN Women/Pornvit Visitoran

Strengthening the formal justice system

Supporting justice providers and institutions to establish a gender-responsive justice system and to address long-standing institutionalized gender discrimination.

Photo: UN Women/Fardin Waezi
Photo: UN Women/Fardin Waezi

UN human rights mechanisms

Linking local, national, and regional women’s organizations to human rights treaty bodies and special mechanisms.

Photo: UN Women/Terri O'Quinn
Photo: UN Women/Terri O'Quinn

Community-based mechanisms

Strengthening the capacity of women’s grassroots organizations to facilitate a community-based model for gender justice

Photo: UN Women/Boost Metrics
Photo: UN Women/Boost Metrics

Transitional
justice

Uplifting women’s role in post-conflict truth-finding mechanisms and rehabilitation processes and promoting their full participation in transitional justice.

Photo: UN Women/Pairach Homtong
Photo: UN Women/Pairach Homtong

Women’s rights movement

Bringing together women’s organizations and human rights defenders to create a joint movement to lobby for a holistic approach on Women’s Access to Justice.

Photo: UN Women/Rakshya Risal
Photo: UN Women/Rakshya Risal

Dialogue
platforms

Facilitation of dialogue between justice providers and communities to create an enabling environment for women’s rights and to change social norms