Error message

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.

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.

Related Publications

Why International Women’s Day Matters

Why International Women’s Day Matters

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

By: Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.

When Mahatma Gandhi was leader of the Indian National Congress in 1921, he advocated for women’s rights as key to modernizing Indian society. He understood that you cannot change a society peacefully without turning to women, half of the population, to make it happen. In an open letter in 1930, he wrote, “If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with women.” It was a radical idea at the time to make women, who usually are invisible, visible. It’s still radical today.

Gender; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Women, Peace, and Security in Pakistan

Women, Peace, and Security in Pakistan

Thursday, February 16, 2017

By: Zeenia Faraz

A society defined by patriarchal norms and structural inequalities keeps women and girls on the margins of the society and hinders women’s participation in public and political spheres. Yet women’s participation in decisions related to peace and security in the country is essential to peacebuilding and postconflict reconstruction. This brief examines the challenges in implementing the women, peace, and security framework in Pakistan.

Gender; Violent Extremism; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

UNSCR 1325 in the Middle East and North Africa: Women and Security

UNSCR 1325 in the Middle East and North Africa: Women and Security

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

By: Paula M. Rayman; Seth Izen; Emily Parker

The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 fifteen years ago. The resolution addresses the disproportionate impact war has on women and reaffirms their important role in conflict management, conflict resolution, and sustainable peace processes. This report pulls from interviews conducted with academics, activists, government officials, and nongovernmental leaders in Egypt, Iraq, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Tunisia. It examines the benefits and challenges of the re...

Gender; Violent Extremism; Global Policy; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Women Charting a New Course on Peace and Security

Women Charting a New Course on Peace and Security

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

By: Kathleen Kuehnast, Ph.D.; Danielle Robertson

The fact that Afghanistan’s parliament has 69 female members, 27 percent of the total, illustrates the advances, albeit still tenuous, that are possible with determined efforts to support the protection and empowerment of women. At the same time, women worldwide still suffer disproportionately from conflict and violent extremism. In the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, USIP has collected statistics and the observations of global leaders to illustrate hard-won achievements and the devastating gaps that remain.

Gender; Human Rights; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

View All Publications