Women police officers at a workshop on enhancing role of women in law enforcement institutions, in Tripoli, Libya. - © UNDP Libya/Ahmed Bhih

Gender Justice

Violence and conflict weaken system of protection, security, and justice often exacerbate gender inequality and discrimination. UNDP takes a holistic approach to promoting gender justice, including by supporting our national partners to: protect the rights of women and girls by putting in place non-discriminatory laws and policies; promote women’s access to justice and enhance their security by responding to their unique needs; ensure that women lead and participate in rule of law institutions and processes; and increase accountability for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). UNDP works with national partners to increase their capacities to prevent and respond to SGBV, which includes efforts to foster a culture of awareness of the ills of SGBV, create and employ preventative mechanisms, fight impunity for these crimes, mobilize men in advocacy efforts, and provide survivors with psychosocial and socioeconomic support.

Gender Justice and Equality Before the Law Report

Gender Justice is fundamental to human development and the realization of peaceful, just and inclusive societies. It involves ending inequalities between men and women in law and practice and providing redress for those inequalities. UNDP applies a holistic approach to promoting gender justice through support to our national partners in advancing women’s rights through policy and law reforms that address discriminatory norms and harmful gender stereotypes, prejudices, and practices; disseminating information and knowledge that supports behaviour change; promoting access to justice for women and enhancing their security; empowering women as active participants in the process of transforming gender and power relations and the structures that enable them; and increasing accountability for sexual and gender-based violence.

In late 2019, in partnership with UN Women, UNFPA, and ESCWA, UNDP launched the regional report on Gender Justice & Equality before the Law: Analysis of progress and challenges in the Arab States region. The culmination of a four-year project, the report brings a unique regional lens to gender justice-related laws, policies and enforcement practices, and builds upon 18 in-depth country specific reports produced by the partnership in 2018. It is complimented by the Gender Justice and the Law Dashboard (a colour-coded chart that visually illustrates the status of legislation related to gender justice in the 18 countries). The report proposes recommendations for Arab countries to consider in their planning for concrete measures that they can take to achieve equality before the law for women and girls within the timeframe of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report was launched in conjunction with an innovation challenge aimed to generate solutions for an online platform which can engage and facilitate knowledge sharing between law makers, women’s rights advocates and activists on law reform in the region. 

This combination of the regional report, the dashboard, and the individual country reports creates a unique set of tools for provoking a constructive public dialogue on how to improve the legal status of women and girls in the region through law and policy reform. This toolkit highlights the key role of civil society organisations and National Women’s Machineries (NWMs) as critical partners in the promotion of gender justice. NWMs can play a vital role in ensuring that policies, programmes and institutions incorporate gender equality considerations, and are guided by principles of equality and non-discrimination. They can also support data collection and monitoring of the situation of women and enhance cooperation and coordination among government and civil society stakeholders. 

While the dashboard provides a striking visualisation of gender equality in the law across 18 countries, the report delves deeper into progress towards the realization of gender equality in the region and the main challenges and opportunities under current legal frameworks to ensure gender justice for all. The report therefore aims to inform policy making and gender-related action in the region, recognizing that changes to laws and policies must also be accompanied by social changes to address unequal gender power relations and to establish gender equality norms. In 2020, UNDP, together with our UN and national partners, will leverage existing and new data and analysis to advance gender justice goals at the national level, and facilitate regional-level exchanges of experience and good practices, including through the launch of a regional online platform, in order to advance gender justice and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular SDG 5 and 16.