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Gender Stereotyping

Gender Stereotyping: Transnational Legal Perspectives

Rebecca J. Cook
Simone Cusack
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Gender Stereotyping
    Book Description:

    Drawing on domestic and international law, as well as on judgments given by courts and human rights treaty bodies, Gender Stereotyping offers perspectives on ways gender stereotypes might be eliminated through the transnational legal process in order to ensure women's equality and the full exercise of their human rights. A leading international framework for debates on the subject of stereotypes, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, was adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly and defines what constitutes discrimination against women. It also establishes an agenda to eliminate discrimination in all its forms in order to ensure substantive equality for women. Applying the Convention as the primary framework for analysis, this book provides essential strategies for eradicating gender stereotyping. Its proposed methodology requires naming operative gender stereotypes, identifying how they violate the human rights of women, and articulating states' obligations to eliminate and remedy these violations. According to Rebecca J. Cook and Simone Cusack, in order to abolish all forms of discrimination against women, priority needs to be given to the elimination of gender stereotypes. While stereotypes affect both men and women, they can have particularly egregious effects on women, often devaluing them and assigning them to subservient roles in society. As the legal perspectives offered in Gender Stereotyping demonstrate, treating women according to restrictive generalizations instead of their individual needs, abilities, and circumstances denies women their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0592-3
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Louise Arbour

    Striking about this book is its demonstration of how common the phenomenon of repressive stereotyping of women is in all parts of the world. Within a country, stereotyping is liable to pervade different sectors of national life, whether it be in the education, employment or health sectors, marriage or family relations or other areas of national life. The pervasiveness of gender stereotypes that determine women’s value in life or direct or restrict their “proper” role in their communities combines with the persistence of the conceptions of women’s roles, qualities and attributes over time. While the content of stereotypes might vary...

  4. Table of Cases
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. Table of Treaties, Legislation, and Other Relevant Instruments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    Stereotyping is part of human nature. It is the way we categorize individuals, often unconsciously, into particular groups or types, in part to simplify the world around us. It is the process of ascribing to an individual general attributes, characteristics, or roles by reason only of his or her apparent membership in a particular group. Stereotyping produces generalizations or preconceptions concerning attributes, characteristics, or roles of members of a particular social group, which renders unnecessary consideration of any particular individual members’ abilities, needs, wishes, and circumstances.

    Stereotypes affect both men and women. However, they often have a particularly egregious effect...

  7. Chapter 1 Understanding Gender Stereotyping
    (pp. 9-38)

    What precisely do we mean by the term “stereotype”? As understood in this book, a stereotype is a generalized view or preconception of attributes or characteristics possessed by, or the roles that are or should be performed by, members of a particular group (e.g., women, lesbians, adolescents).¹ In this view, a stereotype presumes that all members of a certain social group possess particular attributes or characteristics (e.g., adolescents are irresponsible), or perform specified roles (e.g., women are caregivers). It does not matter for purposes of characterizing a generalization as a stereotype that attributes or characteristics are or are not common...

  8. Chapter 2 Naming Gender Stereotyping
    (pp. 39-70)

    The ability to eliminate a wrong is contingent on it first being “named,” by which is meant that a particular experience has been identified and publicly acknowledged as a wrong in need of legal and other forms of redress and subsequent prevention.¹ Naming is an important tool for revealing an otherwise hidden harm, explaining its implications, and labeling it as a human rights concern, grievance, or possible human rights violation. Once a wrong has been named, it is then possible to identify whether it is a form of discrimination and set about the task of securing its elimination through asures....

  9. Chapter 3 State Obligations to Eliminate Gender Stereotyping
    (pp. 71-103)

    The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (“Women’s Convention” or “Convention”; see Appendix A) requires that States Parties take all appropriate measures to eliminate wrongful gender stereotyping.¹ The content of the obligations of a State Party under the Convention is determined as a matter of treaty interpretation. One or more of the issue-specific articles (articles 6–16) need to be interpreted in conjunction with the articles outlining general obligations (articles 1–5 and 24), and in light of the Convention’s overall object and purpose, taking account of the actual practice of how the treaty has...

  10. Chapter 4 Gender Stereotyping as a Form of Discrimination
    (pp. 104-130)

    The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (“Women’s Convention” or “Convention”; see Appendix A) obligates States Parties to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. It will be recalled that article 1 of that instrument defines “discrimination against women” as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil...

  11. Chapter 5 The Role of the Women’s Committee in Eliminating Gender Stereotyping
    (pp. 131-172)

    With the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women¹ (“Women’s Convention” or “Convention”; see Appendix A) in 2009, there is much to celebrate. Understanding about gender stereotyping and how it wrongs women has grown, and an international consensus is beginning to emerge on the importance of securing its elimination.² Notwithstanding such important strides, however, gender stereotyping persists, significantly compromising the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, and women’s exercise of other human rights and fundamental freedoms. As we move toward the Convention’s fiftieth anniversary, it is thus...

  12. Chapter 6 Moving Forward with the Elimination of Gender Stereotyping
    (pp. 173-180)

    Our working hypothesis is that abolishing wrongful forms of gender stereotyping is essential to the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, their realization of substantive equality, and their exercise of their other human rights and fundamental freedoms. If this hypothesis is correct, then state and non-state actors need to give greater priority to overcoming the obstacles that impede the elimination of wrongful gender stereotyping. As the transnational legal perspectives offered in this book demonstrate, treating women according to their individual needs, abilities, priorities, and circumstances, and not according to stereotypical generalizations of what it means to be a...

  13. Appendix A. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
    (pp. 181-194)
  14. Appendix B. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
    (pp. 195-200)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 201-246)
  16. Select Bibliography on Gender Stereotyping
    (pp. 247-250)
  17. Annotated List of Websites
    (pp. 251-256)
  18. Index
    (pp. 257-268)
  19. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 269-270)