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"International Law and the Gender equality priciple"
International Law and the Gender equality priciple
Quentina Green

Recognition of gender equality into a principle that is part of CIL will have widespread impact, since all states will be internationally accountable for any discriminatory practices concerning gender. However although treaties, most notably CEDAW, tribunals, special rapporteur reports and judicial decisions suggest that gender equality has matured into a CIN, this norm has unfortunately not reached the status of CIL. Barriers such as cultural and religious practices, CEDAW inefficiencies and the amount of reservations which defeat the purpose of the CEDAW convention, suggest that there is no generality of state practise. The standards for ascertaining whether the gender equality principle has matured into CIL are the existence of Opinio Juris (what states are obliged to do) and state practice. Where there is a lack of state practice the maturation of the gender equality principle into CIL will be undermined.


Opinio Juris in this instance is the belief that the practice of the gender equality principle "is obligatory, rather than merely convenient or habitual" (p.32) and thus is an essential component of customary international law. Opinio Juris can also be inferred from repeated state practice.

CEDAW, was the first convention to enumerate a broad range of specific rights. The CEDAW convention requests all party states to end all forms of discrimination against women in public life with regard to health and education, as well as equality before the law in marriage and family life. The purpose of CEDAW is to grant women the ability to exercise rights which are protected by human rights law. Furthermore, CEDAW has the membership of 165 party states. A large amount of ratification may suggest that gender equality has been given the recognition to become a CIL since the vast majority of states recognize the need for gender equality. International human rights treaty bodies also...

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