Oro-men demonstration in Kolkata

Fighting attacks on Gender Studies and sexuality education using human rights instruments

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Room P3 506, Maison de la paix

Planning workshop for a “Gender Rights Clinic”

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The insight that gender is a social construct constitutes the core of contemporary feminist politics, allowing us to argue that women do not need to be slaves to imagined binary natures and to imperatives of biological reproduction. It also is an important premise of the gender equality guarantees enshrined in many UN human rights instruments. Anti-feminist forces around the world are today attacking this central insight, and with it feminist advocates that seek equal rights for women, liberation from patriarchal oppression and from the strictures of heteronormativity. They are particularly hostile to the field of Gender Studies, which has emerged from feminist movements and found broad recognition in academia

The workshop will seek to explore how human rights instruments can be used to combat these attacks. More specifically, we want to examine the feasibility of creating a “Gender Rights Clinic” that compiles information about attacks against gender studies broadly conceived (from primary school to university and including sexuality education) around the world and contributes country-specific reports to ongoing human rights reviews. The reports would focus on violations of the right to gender equality and the right to education through obstructions of Gender Studies and sexuality education. They would provide materials to human rights bodies to hold states accountable for safeguarding the right to learn about scientific insights even if they may not be politically palatable.


  • Eléonore Lépinard, University of Lausanne
  • Martha Jackson-Eade, International Network on Human Rights
  • Michelle Cottier, University of Geneva
  • Joanna Bourke-Martignoni, Graduate Institute and Geneva Academy
  • Cassandra Lin Bragdon, Feminist Collective @ the Graduate Institute, Geneva
  • Sylvia Trieu (University of Lausanne)


  • Elisabeth Prügl, Graduate Institute, Geneva

This event is organised jointly by the Gender Centre @ the Graduate Institute, Études genre of the University of Geneva, Centre en études genre of the University of Lausanne, the Feminist Collective at the Graduate Institute and the International Network of Human Rights.