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On 19 October our Head of Policy Research and Campaigns, Helen Flynn, was invited to take part in an expert panel hosted by CEDAWinLAW to discuss the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in the UK’s domestic law through a Women’s Bill of Rights. Other panel members included Dr Nazir Afzal OBE QC, Debbie Allen (Labour Party BAME Officer), Moira Rayner (Barrister) and Dr Sarah Sargent (University of Buckingham).

The panel examined a range of ways in which the implementation of the articles of CEDAW could improve women’s lived experiences in the UK, particularly in terms of pressing issues such as violence against women and girls. In her presentation Helen examined two key areas. Firstly, Helen explained why CEDAW is a particularly special convention, including how allows for ‘special measures’ to achieve equality, focuses not only on the realisation of rights in the public sphere, but also the private realm (where domestic violence most frequently takes place), and in how it tries to reflect the intersectional lives that women lead. Helen then reflected on the current threats to human rights in the UK for women, particularly in relation to the Human Rights Act 1998 and the UK’s exit from the EU.

However, Helen concluded by noting that the pandemic, which had impacted women in such particular ways, had created a space where change could be achieved, and that the time had perhaps come to implement international human rights standards in domestic law, including CEDAW. You can watch the full session here.