The COVID-19 crisis affects people differently due to already existing structural inequalities, power asymmetries, and cultural and social norms within our societies. ‘We are all in this together’ is not accurate. Even if we are all in this, we are not in it in the same ways. Gender is one of the key dynamics shaping how people are influenced by the ongoing pandemic.
The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) is currently collaborating with partners and researchers in Belarus, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Turkey, and Zimbabwe, on a multi-country research initiative analysing COVID-19’s gendered impacts on human rights.
On August 28, we hosted a webinar on COVID-19, gender and human rights – the first public event of this new initiative.
Şebnem Keniş (Senior Policy Advisor on gender and human rights, Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law – RWI) moderated the seminar, during which we seek to provide critical insights into the effects of the pandemic on human rights of women and discussed what should be done to better respond to exacerbated gender inequalities and increased gender-based violence and intersectional discrimination faced by women in the context of COVID-19.
CHECK OUT THE WEBINAR: To watch the recorded zoom webinar, click here.
To the webinar, we invited;
- Hilary Gbedemah, Chair of the CEDAW Committee
- Meskerem Geset Techane, Member and Former Chair of the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls
- Cai Yiping, Executive committee member, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN
Hilary Gbedemah is a human rights lawyer, researcher, and women’s right activist. She is currently the chair of the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). She is the Rector and lecturer at the Law Institute, Ghana’s premier vocational law training institute in Accra. Gbedemah was first elected to CEDAW in 2013 for a two-year term. In her first tenure, she was appointed to serve on the Working Groups such as Access to Justice, which produced CEDAW’s General Recommendation 33 on Access to Justice, the Right to Education, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, and Inquiries under the Optional Protocol. In 2016, she was re-nominated to serve on the CEDAW Committee. She holds a Master’s Degree in Law from Georgetown University, Washington D.C. 1996; LLB (Hons.) She obtained her Bachelor of Law Certificate from the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1975.
Meskerem Geset Techane (Member and Former Chair, United Nations Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls)
Techane is a human rights lawyer and keen advocate of women’s rights. She is a member and former chair of the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls. She previously held positions as a High Court Judge in Ethiopia, and Deputy Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA). Her dedicated service to women and girls has earned her an award for outstanding pro bono legal aid, and the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association prize for remarkable contribution. She served as an expert member in different Working Groups of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and collaborated with various Special Rapporteurs of the Commission. Currently a Doctoral Fellow at the University of Padova, Techane holds an LLB from the Addis Ababa University and an LLM from the University of Pretoria. She has published on issues of women’s and human rights in Africa, and authored training manuals for lawyers, judges and law enforcement.
Cai Yiping is a Chinese feminist author and activist. She co-leads DAWN’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights activities. She participated in creating several vibrant women’s NGOs in China after the 4th World Conference on Women, held in Beijing (1995). These included the Media Monitoring Network for Women and Network (Research Center) for Combating Domestic Violence. Prior to joining DAWN, she served as Executive Director (2008-2011) at Isis International, a southern feminist organization based in Manila, Philippines working on empowering women through communications. She was Associate Researcher at the Women’s Studies Institute of China (2006 – 2008) and a journalist for China Women’s News (1995 – 2005). She served as a member of UN Women’s Asia-Pacific Civil Society Advisory Group (2013-2016), and is currently a member of the Asia-Pacific Regional Engagement Mechanism. Her current work focuses on the sustainable development agenda, the ICPD and Beijing review processes.
Şebnem Keniş (Senior Policy Advisor on gender and human rights, Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law – RWI) moderated the seminar.
Sebnem Kenis works as Senior Policy Advisor at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) and leads RWI’s gender equality work. She provides gender- and human rights- related expertise, advice and guidance to RWI’s regional and country programs. She was a Policy Leader Fellow at the School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute in Florence, Italy (January-June 2020). Prior to her current role, she worked as Programme Officer responsible for gender mainstreaming and results-based management in RWI’s Turkey Programme. In 2016, she was appointed as the Gender Equality Rapporteur of the Council of Europe’s Joint Council on Youth. Her areas of interest include gender and its intersections with the environment, climate change, local governance, and artificial intelligence. Sebnem holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Koc University, Istanbul.