Feminist Legal Studies Queen's

Feminist Legal Studies Queen's

site header

Feminist Legal Studies Queen's - Winter Term 2020 Lectures

Friday, January 29, 2021
1-2:20pm, via Zoom, Register Here

Nandini Ramanujam, McGill University, Faculty of Law

TopicPathways to Equality: Women and Legal Empowerment


Women’s inequality is a major barrier to sustainable global development and universal human dignity. Women’s empowerment has long been considered a crucial component of global development, and human rights agendas.  Disillusionment with the failure of a strictly law focussed approach to realizing equality and dignity, has led to the emergence of Legal empowerment movement. This lecture will explore legal empowerment as an effective strategy for achieving political, economic, and social empowerment of women. Looking at both narrow and broad approaches to legal empowerment, the lecture aims to assess its ability to contribute to attaining Sustainable Development Goal Five, Gender Equality. The lecture will conclude by surveying  case studies where women’s legal empowerment may be an effective strategy to respond to systemic gender inequality: land rights in South Africa and gender-based violence in the United States and Nepal. 


Required Reading:

Stephen Golub, “Beyond Rule of Law Orthodoxy: The Legal Empowerment Alternative” (2003) 41 Democracy and Rule of Law Project. Online: https://carnegieendowment.org/files/wp41.pdf

Tanja Chopra & Deborah Isser, “Access to Justice and Legal Pluralism in Fragile States: The Case of Women’s Rights” (2012) 4 Hague J Rule of Law 337. Online: https://namati.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Access-to-Justice-and-Legal-Pluralism-in-Fragile-States-2.pdf

Suggested Reading: 

Aljazeera, “Nepal Makes First Arrest Over Woman’s Death in ‘Menstrual Hut’” (6 December 2019) online: Aljazeera < www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/6/nepal-makes-first-arrest-over-womans-death-in-menstrual-hut>

The Economist, “How an Apartheid-Era Deal Still Afflicts the Land of the Zulus” (19 December 2020) online: The Economist <www.economist.com/christmas-specials/2020/12/19/how-an-apartheid-era-dea...

Nicholas Reimann, “Inmates Repeatedly Raped And Beaten By Staff At Nation’s Largest Women’s Prison, DOJ Says” (22 December 2020) online: Forbe <www.forbes.com/sites/nicholasreimann/2020/12/22/inmates-repeatedly-raped...

US Department of Justice, “Justice Department Alleges Conditions at Lowell Correctional Institution Violate the Constitution” (22 December 2020) online: DOJ < www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-alleges-conditions-lowell-corr...