Backlash against Women’s Rights and the Istanbul Convention
Bertil Emrah Oder (Koç University Law School, Turkey), Anna Śledzińska-Simon (University of Wrocław, Poland), Andrea Krizsán (Central European University, Hungary) and Genoveva Tisheva (Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation, Bulgaria) in conversation with Ruth Rubio-Marín (University of Sevilla, moderator).
On the 10-year anniversary of the opening for signatures of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, we invite everyone for a webinar, discussing the backlash against women’s rights that can be seen in the recent years and the more specific attacks regarding the Istanbul Convention.
The gender equality and women’s human rights agenda have been making – has made great progress in the last decade, especially thanks to special regional, international normative frameworks, like the Istanbul Convention. This human rights convention focuses on the protection of women against all forms of violence, as well as the prevention, prosecution and elimination of violence against women and domestic violence.
However, while the positive impact of the Istanbul Convention is cause enough for a celebration, that success has not come without backlash. In the four countries that our panellist will look at, Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court found the Istanbul Convention unconstitutional, the Hungarian parliament refused to ratify it, the Polish Justice Minister expressed interest in starting the formal withdrawal process, while Turkey has already withdrawn. The increased gender-based discrimination and violence against women sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic makes this a topic that is highly significant and timely to discuss.
Therefore, in this webinar Bertil Emrah Oder (Koç University Law School, Turkey), Anna Śledzińska-Simon (University of Wrocław, Poland), Andrea Krizsán (Central European University, Hungary) and Genoveva Tisheva (Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation, Bulgaria) in conversation with Ruth Rubio-Marín (University of Sevilla, moderator) will look at the similar yet varied tendencies when it comes to the backlash against women’s rights and the Istanbul Convention in the wider context of the global anti-gender equality strategies.
Bertil Emrah Oder is the Dean and Professor of Constitutional Law at Koç University Law School. She is a full member of Science Academy Turkey and All European Academies of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA), Science and Ethics WG and holds the UNESCO Chair on Gender Equality and Sustainable Development. She has served as an international consultant of UN Women and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in different capacity-building projects. She has contributed to the strategic litigations and human rights activism through advising in matters of constitutional review and European supervision. She has served in the executive or advisory committees of reputable research projects, research centers, and associations on human rights, and law journals. She has published four books, dozens of articles, editorials and book chapters on various subjects in public law with focus on human rights and judicial review. She received national and international awards for her scholarly achievements.
Andrea Krizsán is a Research Fellow at the Democracy Institute and Associate Professor at the School of Public Policy and the Gender Studies Department at the Cental European University (CEU). She is interested in understanding policy change in countries of Central and Eastern Europe. She works on different equality policy fields including gender equality policy, policies on gender-based violence, policies addressing ethnic inequalities and intersectionality. Her most recent book on the topic with Conny Roggeband on opposition to the Istanbul Convention and its consequences is forthcoming with Palgrave in 2021. She also co-edited with Abels, MacRae and van den Vleuten the Routledge Handbook on Politics and Gender published in March 2021. Besides her academic work Andrea also acts as the Chair of the CEU Senate Equal Opportunity Committee and she leads the CEU team of the SUPERA Project – Supporting the Promotion of Equality in Research and Academia.
Ruth Rubio-Marín is Full Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Sevilla as well as member of the Faculty of The Hauser Global Law School Program at New York University and Director of the UNIA UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Interculturalism. Her research represents an attempt to understand how public law creates categories of inclusion and exclusion around different axis including gender, citizenship, nationality and ethnicity. Methodologically, she combines law and political theory. Professor Rubio is the author of over 40 articles and author, editor and co-editor of 8 books. As a consultant and activist Prof. Rubio has worked for several national and international institutions and agencies including with the UN and the EU, as well as with several NGOs. She assisted UN Special Rapporteur, Rashida Manjoo, in drafting here report on Violence against Women on Reparations for Women Subjected to Violence.
Anna Śledzińska-Simon is Associate Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Wrocław. She has held visiting fellowships at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, New York University School of Law, European University Institute, Columbia University School of Law and Max-Planck Institute for Comparative Public and International Law. Her research and writing concerns comparative constitutional law and human rights, with a special focus on antidiscrimination law. She is currently involved in several international projects (including a project on gender and constitutionalism in Central and Eastern Europe). Since 2019 she is a member of the Advisory Board of the International Journal of Constitutional Law. She is a guest lecturer at the Academy of European Law and serves as a senior legal expert at the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union, the Batory Foundation and the Local Social Council of the Polish Ombudsman.
Genoveva Tisheva is the Managing Director of the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (BGRF), Director of the Women’ s Human Rights Training Institute, Chair of the Bulgarian Alliance for Protection against Domestic Violence and member of the European Network of Independent Legal experts in the field of Gender Equality. She has many publications in the field of protection from violence and human rights and was actively involved in drafting and campaigning for the adoption of the Protection against Domestic Violence Act (adopted in 2005), for special legislation on gender equality in Bulgaria (since 2000), and in the continuous reform of legislation on gender equality. She and her colleagues promoted the change in the law which, since 2010, means money will be allocated from the State budget for projects of women’s NGOs for protection of victims of violence. She helped with and organised legal counselling for over 700 women victims of violence in Sofia and other towns in Bulgaria.
Photo: Vero Photoart on Flickr