The U.S. Institute of Peace and the University of South Carolina Rule of Law Collaborative hosted a public event examining the obstacles and strategies for the empowerment of women in countries with "mixed" legal systems on May 1, 2015.

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Ambassador Catherine M. Russell, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues U.S. Department of State

At the United Nations 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton made her famous declaration that “Women’s rights are human rights.” Yet two decades later, women still face formidable legal obstacles, especially in countries with “mixed” systems of common, civil, customary, religious and/or tribal law. The U.S. Institute of Peace and the University Of South Carolina Rule Of Law Collaborative hosted a day-long symposium examining the ramifications and potential approaches.

Featured speakers and panelists included officials of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as experts from the host organizations and other groups and institutions. They discussed: 

  • Effective and sustainable mechanisms for improving women's social, economic, and legal empowerment within such mixed legal systems;
  • Strategies and pitfalls for women in religious, tribal or customary law; 
  • Legitimate approaches to capacity building and the participation of women in mixed legal environments;
  • The role of education in empowerment strategies.

The symposium was webcast from USIP. To view the full event agenda, including featured speakers and panelists, see the Rule of Law Collaborative’s website. Continue the conversation on Twitter with #JusTRAC.

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