2021, the inequality agenda developed during the Covid-19 crisis due to exposure to global as well as local inequalities. More than 100 million people were pushed into poverty, and persons with disabilities and ethnic minorities were further marginalised.
In our work towards non-discrimination and inclusion, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI) continued to address inequalities through three different dimensions:
Status inequality (e.g. race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion)
Economic inequality in relative and absolute terms and
Inequality of attention/satisfaction
Following are some examples of the way we have addressed these dimensions:
Family Law Reforms for Equality
Together with Equality Now and the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights, we hosted a workshop on family law reform. The purpose was to strengthen and mobilise family law reform networks and women’s rights activists as well as develop regional and country-based strategies to advocate for the change of discriminatory laws and practices relating to marriage and family. One of the goals of the workshop was to strategise on how to effectively use international events and platforms, such as Beijing+25 and Generation Equality Forum to mobilise and generate interest and support to prioritise the urgent necessity of family law reform as a global agenda.
Female Cambodian Students Get to Study Law
A gender analysis carried out by RWI in relation to gender equality in higher education in Cambodia in 2019 showed that at undergraduate (Bachelor) level, the ratio between women and men is rather equal. However, at the postgraduate (Masters) level the number of female students in Cambodia is only 22%
The main obstacles for women to access higher education are financial. They are also often linked to social norms, where the security for female students and their role as a caretaker within the family is used to discourage or prevent young women to study.
“During the year, we gave scholarships to two Cambodian students for studies at the Master’s Programme in International Human Rights Law at Lund University in Sweden and to fourteen female students from disadvantaged backgrounds to study law at the Royal University of Law and Economics”, says Ali-Al Nasani, Director of the Cambodia Office.
Promoting Disability Rights in Ethiopia
Dureti Fulas, Programme Officer based at RWI’s cooperation partner the Center for Human Rights at Addis Ababa University, supporting implementation of activities under the Ethiopia Programme, observed that a highlight of the cooperation with RWI in 2021 was its unique focus on research related to persons with disabilities.
Fulas describe how;
“the validation of a research on inclusion of deaf and blind students at Addis Ababa University, bringing together AAU faculty members of departments, representatives of students with disabilities and representatives of the AAU Office of the Vice President for Administration and Student Services, was important to spotlight the key challenges People With Disabilities face in the academic environment. We discussed and agreed on potential ways forward.”
Gender Mainstreaming in Policing in East Africa
In 2021 the regional police organisations gathered at the 48th East African Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation Legal Sub-Committee and decided that guidelines, aimed at operationalising the common standards from a gender perspective, should be developed.
The guidelines will assist the East African Police Commissioners Cooperation Organisation and its members in developing intervention points aimed at ensuring an engendered approach to implementing the Common Standards for Policing in East Africa.
Featured image: Nathan Anderson