Achieving gender equality is a priority for the Council for Europe and its member states. It is also central to achieving the organisation’s mission: safeguarding human rights, upholding democracy and preserving the rule of law. Even if the legal status of women in Europe has improved during the recent decades, effective equality between women and men is far from being a reality.
The Council of Europe and its member states have made specific commitments to improve women’s access to justice and prevent and combat violence against women. The role of justice system professionals in ensuring and strengthening women’s access to justice is essential in achieving substantive equality and guaranteeing equal rights to all in the society.
The Partnership for Good Governance project “Strengthening access to justice for women victims of violence in the six Eastern Partnership countries” has supported legal practitioners in developing their competences to uphold the international and European standards, in particular the Istanbul Convention, to avoid gender stereotyping and to guarantee equal access to justice for women.
One of the core activities of the project was to develop an online course on access to justice for women, in close cooperation with the European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP).
The course on access to justice for women provides a comprehensive overview of international and european women’s human rights and gender equality standards, case-law and established good practices. Using the lens of women’s access to justice, it will offer legal professionals in Europe a distinct and concrete tool for the promotion of gender-sensitive justice. It is the first HELP course to provide a single resource on gender equality and justice covering the extensive Council of Europe standards, case law, monitoring reports and soft-law instruments on the matter.
The course is developed in an interactive way and includes various practical exercises.
It consists of 6 modules:
- Introduction to the concept of access to justice
- The international and european legal framework
- Discrimination on the grounds of sex and gender
- Avoiding gender stereotyping
- Practical guidance to improve women’s access to justice
- Gender sensitive approach to the practice of law