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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: June 2012

18 - Minority Women

Summary

Feminist legal scholars, long distraught over the failure of the law and its institutions to account for their impact on the realities that women experience, have fought hard against the masculinity and patriarchal representations of the law given its detrimental and discriminatory effects on women. As a result, society's norms, systems, culture, and practices have come under strict scrutiny to address the inequalities perpetuated through these systems.

With the feminist movement having gained pace over the last century, the world has united in condemning discrimination against and the subjugation of women, particularly as manifested in its most debilitating form, violence against women. Although family violence has been recognized as a growing social problem, domestic violence has been recognized as a distinct form of violence affecting women as a class. Given that violence against women has been noted as the single most pervasive form of human rights violation in addition to being the most costly to society, at least eighty-nine state parties have introduced legislation to address domestic violence against women in furtherance of their international obligations.

Article 2(1) of CEDAW recognizes and condemns violence against women as a rampant form of perpetual discrimination against women that obstructs the protection of their fundamental freedoms. State parties to CEDAW are required to address violence against women through measures that are effective and relevant to counter historically embedded discriminatory treatment of women in light of CEDAW’s guarantee of substantive equality, including the prevalence of violence by nonstate actors in the domestic sphere.

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