|Feminist Law and Practice
APWLD believes that while law can be used to oppress women, it can also be used as an instrument to realise justice, equality and human rights. While using law as a powerful tool, APWLD also recognises that law is not neutral and often shaped to reinforce the status quo of power relations.
In the Asia Pacific region the barriers to justice may be legislative (numerous discriminatory laws exist as well as a lack of legislation to promote women’s rights in many countries), administrative (barriers within the judiciary, evidence requirements, accessibility and corruption), lack of enforcement (entrenched barriers within the police forces and priorities), cultural (social and familial pressure not to persist with claims) and economic (inability to afford legal representation, pay officials, attend courts or lodge forms).
In some countries in the region legal rights are being eroded and significant work needs to be done to protect existing rights let alone advance them.
APWLD works to build a community of legal activists, lawyers, policy makers and implementers who are committed to advancing women’s rights through law. We aim to equip them with the knowledge, skills and networks to analyse and challenge discriminatory laws and practices against women.
This programme has two key strategies. The first is to provide Feminist Legal Training, the second is to instigate legal campaigns to advance women’s rights.
FEMINIST LEGAL TRAINING AND PRACTICE
APWLD has been conducting legal training using a feminist lens for more than a decade. Since then over 500 lawyers, judges, social activists, paralegals, administrative personnel and trainers have benefited from the training. FLTP combines training on feminist legal theories, women’s human rights and feminist litigation strategies.
The objective of the training is to:
A secondary objective is to:
To date, regional FLTP training participants have come from all the Asian sub-regions: South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Central Asia and nine Pacific Island States.
Examples of how participants have used the FLTP training recently include:
Three Training the Trainer workshops have been held with more than 40 graduates. Currently there are 12 women consistently making up the pool of regional FLTP trainers. They come from six countries; India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines, Fiji and Australia.
In this period APWLD will also support national FLTP training (National level training had been conducted by participants in the past but without financial resources from APWLD).
The objectives of this strategy are:
Participants and trainers of FLTP have expressed an interest in developing more campaigning content in the programme. In 2010 trainers will develop a new campaigning module to be incorporated into the training in 2011. The module will assist participants to identify a specific barrier to women’s legal equality in their region, country or local community and map out a strategy to change it.
Participants will also come up with a specific campaign that they will collectively direct and deliver in the next 12 months. Campaigns may be of an international nature (i.e. campaign to have an Asia Pacific government champion a specific position / proposal at the UN), regional (i.e. campaign to have ASEAN adopt a specific position), nationally or even locally (where participants feel that an advance in a national or local law would have impact for the region.
Campaign elements will vary according to the target but may include:
WOMEN IN POWER | BREAKING OUT OF MARGINALISATION | FEMINIST LAW AND PRACTICE | GROUNDING THE GLOBAL
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