The role of legal pluralism in advancing gender equality through (international) human rights instruments.

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Presented by Inter Gentes in collaboration with the CHRLP. On Zoom. The role of legal pluralism in advancing gender equality through (international) human rights instruments. With Meghan Campbell, Geoffrey Swenson, Palwasha L. Kakar. Hosts: Poonam Sandhu and Kassandra Neranjan. //intergentes [at] mcgill.ca">More information

Inter Gentes is a journal that has two guiding objectives: rethinking international law through the lens of legal pluralism and creating a global, twenty-first century academic journal. The journal centers around engaging forums to discuss and debate articles between numerous legal professionals, scholars, students, and the general public. Hosting a conversation on International Women’s Day provides Inter Gentes the unique forum to marry conversations of legal pluralism with that of gender equity. More specifically, human rights instruments and endeavours to produce positivist international law have been lauded and undertaken with a magnanimous conviction that such efforts are essential to advancing gender justice; but does this hold, in truth? We aim to engage activists, scholars, and practitioners in a dialogue regarding legal pluralism in a dynamic setting of international law to explore: what are the multiple ways in which gender justice can and should be advocated for globally? What can we learn for future initiatives?

About the speakers

Dr. Meghan Campbell: Dr. Campbell is Reader in International Human Rights Law at the University of Birmingham. Her research explores how the international human rights system can best respond to gender inequality and poverty. Her monograph Women, Poverty, Equality (Hart Publishing, 2018) explores how the concept of equality in the UN Convention on the Discrimination on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women can be interpreted to address gender-based poverty. She has published peer-reviewed articles on gender equality, human rights, international legal system and public law and provided written evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights and Women and Equalities Committee on Brexit and human rights.

Dr. Geoffrey Swenson: Dr. Geoffrey Swenson is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in International Relations in the Department of International Politics at City, University of London. He is also a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an External Affiliate with the Ostrom Workshop at the University of Indiana, Bloomington. Geoffrey's current research focuses on issues related to post-conflict reconstruction, democracy and the rule of law, legal pluralism, international institutions, international relations theory, and foreign aid. Geoffrey has held fellowships at the London School of Economics, Stanford University, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Previously, he was an in-country program manager for the Asia Foundation in Timor-Leste and Nepal, the founder and in-country director of Stanford Law School's Timor-Leste Legal Education Project, and a global political party development specialist with the National Democratic Institute. Geoffrey completed a DPhil in International Relations at Oxford as a Clarendon Scholar and won the Bapsybanoo Marchioness of Winchester Prize for most outstanding thesis. He holds an MA in Comparative Ethnic Conflict from Queen's University Belfast as a Mitchell Scholar, and a JD from Stanford Law School. Geoffrey's research has been published in leading journals including International Security, World Development, International Studies Review, and the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.

Palwasha L. Kakar: Palwasha L. Kakar is the interim director for religion and inclusive societies at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). Kakar joined USIP after four years with The Asia Foundation where she was the Afghanistan director for Women’s Empowerment and Development. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kakar led the Gender Mainstreaming and Civil Society Unit in the United Nation Development Program's Afghanistan Subnational Governance Program managing a small grants program for Afghanistan's civil society initiatives. Kakar also served as program manager for The Gender Studies Institute at Kabul University. She has experience working with the World Bank Group on gender, social justice and environmental issues surrounding their various projects in the region. Kakar moved to Afghanistan 2004 to work with the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU), an independent research organization, on women's participation at the local levels in the National Solidarity Programme (NSP). Before moving to Afghanistan, she was the director of the Newton Peace Center (currently Peace Connections) a faith-based civil society organization.

An Afghan-American, she has experience teaching and researching religion, gender, security and local governance. Kakar has published research regarding women’s participation in local governance, Pashtunwali-Afghan customary law, Afghan women's identity, and social spaces in Afghanistan. Her research has taken her to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Syria. She earned a master's focusing on gender, politics and religion from Harvard University’s Divinity School and a bachelor's in religion and global studies focusing on peace and conflict from Bethel College in North Newton, KS.

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