All Publications

Wodon Q, Onagoruwa A, Yedan A, Edmeades J. Economic Impacts of Child Marriage: Fertility and Population Growth Brief. The Economic Impacts of Child Marriage [Internet]. 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract



In this brief, we summarize results from an analysis of the impacts of child marriage on fertility and population growth and estimate the economic costs of these impacts.


Wodon Q, Nguyen MC, Yedan A, Edmeades J. Economic Impacts of Child Marriage: Educational Attainment Brief. Economic Impacts of Child Marriage [Internet]. 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract



In this brief, we summarize results from an analysis of the impacts of child marriage on educational attainment for girls and their children and document the extent to which keeping girls in school could help end child marriage.


Onagoruwa A, John N, Wodon Q. Economic Impacts of Child Marriage: Child Health and Nutrition Brief. The Economic Impacts of Child Marriage [Internet]. 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This brief summarizes results from an analysis of the impacts of child marriage on two health outcomes - under-five mortality and stunting - for young children. For the purposes of this brief, we focus on the impact of child marriage through early childbirths, as this is the mechanism through which child health and nutrition outcomes are most directly affected. There is a close correlation between child marriage and early childbirths in most countries - at a global level, six out of seven early childbirths take place within the context of child marriage. The brief does not include analyses for other aspects of child health that may also be affected by child marriage, nor does it consider costs that may be incurred by health systems as a result of poor child health.

Wodon Q, Male C, Nayihouba A, Onagoruwa A, Savadogo A, Yedan A, Edmeades J, Kes A, John N, Murithi L, et al. Economic Impacts of Child Marriage: Global Synthesis Report, in The Economic Impacts of Child Marriage. International Center for Research on Women ; 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract


The international community is increasingly aware of the negative impacts of child marriage on a wide range of development outcomes. Ending child marriage is now part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet investments to end the practice remain limited across the globe and more could be done. In order to inspire greater commitments towards ending child marriage, this study demonstrates the negative impacts of the practice and their associated economic costs. The study looks at five domains of impacts: (i) fertility and population growth; (ii) health, nutrition, and violence; (iii) educational attainment and learning; (iv) labor force participation and earnings; and (v) participation, decision-making, and investments. Economic costs associated with the impacts are estimated for several of the impacts. When taken together across countries, the costs of child marriage are very high. They suggest that investing to end child marriage is not only the right thing to do, but also makes sense economically. 


Jepsen K, Hansen KB. The Indigenous World 2017 UNDRIP 10 Years Special Edition. International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs [Internet]. 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract


The Indigenous World 2017 provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide and a comprehensive overview of the main global trends and developments affecting indigenous peoples during 2016.

The Indigenous World 2017 comes in a special edition marking the ten years anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The public launch took place April 25 2017 during the 16th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York. 

Symbolically, it was launched on the same day, as the UN General Assembly marked the ten years anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Fahmina T. When marriage is for money. New Age Opinion [Internet]. 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract

FIFTEEN-year-old child bride Babli Akter’s fate took a horrible turn when she was allegedly killed by her husband Rashedul and her in laws on January 27 this year as her family could not pay the Tk 3 lakh as dowry (Manabzamin, January 28, 2017). Dowry is nothing more than marital extortion. Dowry marriage mostly consists of greed, humiliation and violence. Many women every year in Bangladesh are being killed, abused and even commit suicide simply due to the pervasive illegal practice of dowry related violence. According to Odhikar’s statistics, between January 2001 and January 2017, about 3,090 women were allegedly killed, 2064 were abused and 220 committed suicide because of dowry. This statistics shows just the tip of the iceberg as a lot of dowry related violence is kept in confidence to retain the ‘honour’ of the family. If there were no giving or taking of dowry, there would not be any dowry related violence. Dowry is illegal in Bangladesh under the Dowry Prohibition Act 1980 and Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain 2000 (amended 2003). However, it still continues.

Ravindram TKS. An Advocates Guide: Integrating Human Rights in Universal Access to Contraception. Arrow [Internet]. 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract


This guide, as the name suggests, is meant for use by advocates for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) at the country level. The guide uses the recommendations made to national governments in the publication “Ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services: Guidance and recommendations” published by the World Health Organization in 2014, with the aim of ensuring that “the different human rights dimensions are systematically and clearly integrated into the provision of contraceptive information and services”.

The guide takes into account recommendations made by the WHO Guidance document, elaborates on what the recommendations actually mean, and provides a checklist with series of questions that probe into the extent of which a government has implemented or complied with a specific (set of) WHO recommendation (s). There are 17 such checklists, which together constitute a ‘tool box’ for assessing whether human rights are ensured in the provision of contraceptive information and services. The guide also provides an illustrative list of indicators for tracking adherence to human rights norms by contraceptive programmes.

The guide can be used by SRHR advocates, this includes women’s organisations, civil society organisations working on women, young people’s health and SRHR. The tool can also be used by health professionals within the health systems at the national level, as a resource and assessment tool for provision of rights based contraceptive information and services.

This advocate’s guide is meant as a generic tool. It will have to be adapted to different national and even sub-national settings, depending on its history of population control and the ethos of adherence to human rights, health system characteristics and resource levels.We hope this guide will enable SRHR advocates to use these WHO recommendations as a basis for holding governments accountable to respecting and upholding human rights in policies and strategies related to contraceptive information and services, and in the actual organisation and delivery of contraceptive services to users.

Organization IL, Nations U. Ending Violence against Women: Prevention and response in the world of work. 2017.Abstract


The International Labour Organization (ILO) has begun an historic standard-setting process on “Violence and harassment against women and men in the world of work”, the first discussion of which will take place at its International Labour Conference in June 2018. This discussion of a possible new Convention and Recommendation on violence and harassment takes place at a time when a range of researchers, decision makers and activists are increasingly understanding the importance of the world of work as a context to develop and implement strategies to prevent and to respond to violence and harassment against women, regardless of whether this occurs at work or elsewhere. 


Ending Violence against Women: Prevention and response in the world of work
Eldoseri HM, Sharps P. Risk Factors for Spousal Physical Violence Against Women in Saudi Arabia. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2017;I (25).Abstract


This study aimed to explore selected risk factors for spousal physical violence (SPV) in women frequenting primary health care clinics (PHCs) in Saudi Arabia. A cross-sectional study design was conducted in six PHCs, where one-on- one, private interviews with 200 women were conducted using a standardized World Health Organization (WHO) violence against women questionnaire (v.10.0). SPV was reported by 45.5% of women. Husband-specific risk factors including alcohol or drug addiction, unemployment, control of wealth in the family, and physical aggression toward other men were significant predictors for SPV. A multisectoral approach should be implemented with focus on providers’ training, women’s safety, and involvement of men in violence prevention and intervention programs. 


Meyersfield B. A Theory of Domestic Violence in International Law. Yale Law School Dissertations [Internet]. 2016;(3). Publisher's VersionAbstract


This thesis is born of the question: why do women suffer domestic violence disproportionately to any other group? Why does it continue, in the same form, with the same degree of pain, without rebate? And, if the same harm occurs over and over again, consistent through generations and uniform across borders, why then has the international community not yet developed effective means to address it? This thesis attempts to find a legal answer. This is prefaced, however, by the acknowledgement that the law is only one tool in an array of mechanisms, such as health, economics, and politics, which, if properly combined, could alleviate the pain and difficulties experienced by many victims of domestic violence. The area of law to which I look is international human rights law. My initial motivation for considering public international law arose from the repetition of similar forms of domestic violence around the globe. All over the world women suffer the same type of violence at the hands of their intimate partners and they endure the same feelings of helplessness and isolation when looking to the state for protection. If such violence is universal, it seems then, so too should be the solution. I propose in this thesis that international law, if properly fashioned, can be used effectively as part of this solution. In particular, I maintain that the authoritative enunciation of a norm against domestic violence in international law can improve the way states address domestic violence. I do not propose that individual abusers should be tried by international law. My focus instead is on the extent to which states fail consistently to alleviate domestic violence. This is important because many legal systems appreciate neither the exigency of extreme forms of domestic violence, nor the extent to which women as a group are disproportionately victims of this violence. The result of this lack of appreciation is an almost universal failure to police, prevent and punish domestic violence effectively.3 Due to the socialized normalcy of domestic violence, very few cases are reported or actually prosecuted. Where prosecutions do proceed, victims will often drop their complaints either because they have reconciled with, or because they fear recrimination from, their abuser. Given the disjuncture between the reality of domestic violence and the inefficacy of many legal systems to address it, a revision of the law vis-à-vis domestic violence is needed. Both national and international legal systems are in need of change. This thesis proposes that the international community should adopt a clear and authoritative articulation of a legal right against extreme and systemic forms of domestic violence and a corresponding duty of states to help remedy such violence. This proposition is made on the basis that international law currently does not contain an effective articulation of this right, and that adopting effective global standards in international law for addressing such violence would help improve state enforcement of this right. Under the current state of international law, it is difficult to convince states to prioritize its resources and infrastructures to protect abused women. Articulating clear and effective global standards in international law for addressing extreme forms of domestic violence would provide an important and practical benchmark against which domestic state legislation could be evaluated and re-shaped. Formulating such global standards could place pressure on states to take basic remedial steps against such violence, such as enacting legislation that allows for restraining orders to be made at the same time as a maintenance order, or creating accessible shelters, which will accommodate the divergent needs of women, including their children.


Africa: Legal Grounds: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in African Courts. University of Toronto Faculty of Law [Internet]. 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

These publications include summaries and analyses of cases pertaining to reproductive and sexual rights, including gender-based violence, HIV discrimination, property and family law, abortion, and claims of fetal interests. They examine how African national courts interpret and apply regional and international human rights laws. 

Fahmina T. Fairness creams, skin colour-based discrimination and violence against women: time to stop!. Odhikar [Internet]. 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Ruma (not her real name), a school teacher by profession and a mother of two, living in Dhaka, married Mainul eight years ago. Soon after, Mainul started harassing her, calling her an ‘ugly’ woman – because of her dark complexion.  Her mother-in-law and other members of her husband’s family used to verbally abuse her almost every day, saying that her skin is ‘moyla’ (dirty); and expressed their anger and frustration, and thought that Mainul had bad luck as he was not able to marry a ‘beautiful’ woman–meaning a fair-complexioned woman. Ruma tried very hard to be seen as beautiful in the eyes of her husband and in-laws and experimented to see how she could look fairer. She started buying brand name fairness creams, hoping to make her skin lighter as she started to believe that fair meant lovely, as the advertisements say. She regularly watched fairness cream advertisements on television, read about them on bill boards and newspapers and wanted to be as fair as the models in the advertisements. Unfortunately, nothing really worked or showed much of a result. Her husband and in laws demanded a huge amount of dowry repeatedly – apparently as a retaliation for her darker skin.

Women UN. Global Database on Violence Against Women. [Internet]. 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Violence against women and girls is one of the most systematic and widespread human rights violations. According to a 2013 global review of available data, 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. Eliminating such violence globally requires intensive efforts, which led world leaders to establish an online tool that increases opportunities to exchange experiences and strengthen knowledge to prevent and stop violence against women. The Global Database on Violence against Women provides easy access to comprehensive and up-to-date information on measures undertaken by United Nations Member States to address all forms of violence against women

Women UN. Inventory of United Nations Activities to end Violence Against Women. [Internet]. 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The entities of the United Nations system address violence against women through research and normative and policy development. They support Member States and other stakeholders in their efforts and provide services and other assistance to victims of violence, undertake advocacy and awareness-raising activities, implement innovative projects, as well as provide funding to various stakeholders for their activities. This Inventory of United Nations Activities to End Violence against Women is intended to strengthen the knowledge base on work that is being implemented by the system on this critical issue.

Morocco’s Compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Advocates for Human Rights; 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In 2004, the Human Rights Committee noted its concern about the high level of domestic violence against women and called upon Morocco to “take suitable practical measures to combat this phenomenon”. In spite of more than ten years of strong civil society advocacy for a comprehensive violence against women law, the Moroccan government has failed to respond and meet its obligation to protect Moroccan women from violence.

Narasimhan M, Orza L, Welbourn A, Bewley S, Crone T, Vazquez M. Sexual and reproductive health and human rights of women living with HIV: a global community survey. Bulletin of the World Health Organization [Internet]. 2016;(94) :243-249. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In the development of any of its global guidelines, the World Health Organization (WHO) places importance on the values and preferences of the population or individuals that could be affected by the recommendations made within the guidelines. WHO has guidelines on the care, treatment and support for women living with HIV and their children in resource-con-strained settings, but these guidelines were published in 2006 and require updating. As an initial step in the updating process, WHO commissioned a global survey to listen to the voices of women living with HIV and determine these women’s sexual and reproductive health priorities. The main aim of the survey was to ensure that the values and preferences of women living with HIV would inform the guidelines from the very start of its development. The methods and key outcomes of the global survey are described and discussed below.

Women, Violence and Conflict in Pakistan. International Crisis Group [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Eight years into its democratic transition, violence against women is still endemic in Pakistan, amid a climate of impunity and state inaction. Discriminatory legislation and a dysfunctional criminal justice system have put women at grave risk. Targeted by violent extremists with an overt agenda of gender repression, women’s security is especially threatened in the conflict zones in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). On 8 March, International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed that his government would take all necessary legislative and administrative steps to protect and empower women. If this pledge was in earnest, his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government should end institutionalised violence and discrimination against women, including by repealing unjust laws, countering extremist threats, particularly in KPK and FATA, and involving women and their specially relevant perspectives in design of state policies directly affecting their security, including strategies to deal with violent extremist groups.

Arfaoui K. Women and Leadership in the Post-Arab Spring: The Case of Tunisia. Women’s Movements in Post-“Arab Spring” North Africa [Internet]. 2015 :223-234. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This chapter aims at analyzing the expectations of Tunisian women with the outbreak of the so-called “Arab Spring” and the unexpected events that came not only to counter them but even worse: to bring them back to a status of the Middle Ages. As a result, women’s struggle had to face two things: resist threats to the gains they had made since 1956 with the advent of the Code of Personal Status (CPS) and continue their march towards full equality with men. A beautiful name was given to the revolution that was ignited by the self-immolation of a young fruit and vegetable peddler on 17 December, 2010 in Sidi Bouzid, a small town south of Tunis: the Arab Spring. Why “Spring” when the time was plain winter? Others called it “The Jasmine Revolution,” because Tunisia is a country where Jasmine is the favorite flower of people? What do flowers have to do with revolution? Both names have positive connotations of joy and festivities. This revolution had had no leader and no political party had backed it. It had been a spontaneous movement of youth and women in particular with high expectations for a new democratic Tunisia.


World Bank Group - Gender Equality, Poverty Reduction, and Inclusive Growth. World Bank Group; 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract



By many measures, 2015 marks a watershed year in the international community's efforts to advance gender equality. In September, with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UN Member States committed to a renewed and more ambitious framework for development. This agenda, with a deadline of 2030, emphasizes inclusion not just as an end in and of itself but as critical to development effectiveness. At the center of this agenda is the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls (SDG 5). In addition to governments, the private sector is increasingly committed to reducing gaps between men and women not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes business sense. Gender equality is also central to the World Bank Group’s own goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner. No society can develop sustainably without transforming the distribution of opportunities, resources and choices for males and females so that they have equal power to shape their own lives and contribute to their families, communities, and countries. Promoting gender equality is a smart development policy.

Binetti A. Under Fire: Women Human Rights Defenders in Meso-America. [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) are integral to the promotion of human rights in their communities and in fostering regional stability. However, WHRDs often face violent repercussions for their work—including physical attacks, death threats and assassinations. The danger faced by WHRDs is particularly acute in Mesoamerica, where there were 1,375 reported attacks against WHRDs in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala between 2012 and 2013. When assessing how to protect WHRDs, it is important to understand their unique vulnerabilities, which stem from their gender and the subject of their advocacy efforts.  

Despite a strong normative international legal framework, available regional protection mechanisms through the Organization of American States(OAS)and the nascent development of national laws, Mesoamerican WHRDs work under perilous conditions while their persecutors operate with impunity. While it is the primary responsibility of States to protect WHRDs,the United States has a legal and moral duty to assist this vulnerable population when their own governments are perpetrators of the abuse or fail to provide protection from attacks. This duty arises from UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and its progeny, which embody principles of binding customary international law, as well as the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, which represents the government’s express commitment to empower women around the world as agents of peace and stability.