The establishment of this working group by the Human Rights Council (September 2010) was a milestone on the long road towards gender equality . Despite many constitutional and legal reforms to integrate women’s human rights fully into domestic law, progress is insufficient and discrimination against women persists in both public and private spheres, in conflict and in peace, transcending national, cultural and religious boundaries and fuelled by patriarchal stereotyping and power imbalances - which is mirrored in laws, policies and practice.

The Working Group focus is to identify, promote and exchange views, in consultation with States and other actors, on good practices related to the elimination ofdiscriminatory laws. The Group is also tasked with developing a dialogue with States and other actors and to identify ways to cooperate with States to fulfil commitments to eliminate discrimination against women in law and in practice.

The members:

Emna AOUIJ (Tunisia) was a member of CEDAW for three consecutive terms between 1990 and 2002. Ms. Aouij also served as independent expert of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Chad from 1996 to 1997. She has been ambassador to the Netherlands and Denmark and was previously a judge.

Mercedes BARQUET (Mexico) has researched and taught extensively since 1988 on feminist theory, women’s human rights, gender and public policy, citizenship and democratic governance, institutions and gender equality. Ms. Barquet is a member of several academic committees, and has been adviser to a number of public institutions and civil society organizations in Mexico. She is currently adviser to Mexico City’s Human Rights Commission.

Kamala CHANDRAKIRANA (Indonesia) chaired the Indonesia’s National Commission on Women for six years. She was a member of the investigation team set up by the President of Indonesia on the death of a prominent human rights defender. She is also founder of several NGOs on women’s rights.

Frances RADAY (Israel/United Kingdom) is a former member of CEDAW and has taught extensively in various academic institutions in Israel and elsewhere. Ms. Raday is the author of numerous academic books and articles on human rights, labour law and feminist legal theory. She has acted as legal counsel on precedent-setting human rights cases in Israel’s Supreme Court, including women’s constitutional rights to equality in religious rituals at public sites and sex discrimination in retirement age. She is currently the Director of the Concord Research Centre for Integration of International Law, Haim Striks Law School, Colman.

Eleonora ZIELINSKA (Poland) has published extensively, including scholarly articles related to gender issues, abortion, HIV/AIDS, and medical law. She is currently professor, chief of the comparative criminal law section and director of the legal clinic at Warsaw University and a member of the European Network of Legal Experts in the field of gender equality. Ms. Zieliñska has been an active supporter of women’s rights in Poland, and has served as an expert with governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations.

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