SOAS University of London

School of Law

Human Rights of Women

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2022/2023
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 1

The international legal instruments for the guarantee of women's civil and political and economic and social rights will be examined for students to acquire knowledge and understanding of the basic texts and the international monitoring mechanisms. Detailed attention will be accorded to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1979.  The Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Women will also be examined.The impact of certain conceptual assumptions within international law, and human rights law in particular, that militates against the adequate protection of women's rights will be considered. After an examination of the general framework, more detailed attention will be given to certain topics including intersectionality, the rights of LGBTI persons, violence against women, including in armed conflict, refugees, children's rights and development policies. The course will finally consider the question of whether international human rights law is an appropriate vehicle for the furtherance of women's interests.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the international human rights framework and how it has evolved to incoporate the interests of women.
  • Critically evaluate the efficacy of law in advancing women's rights and interests


  • A weekly 2 hour seminar

Method of assessment

  • 50% assessed by 2,000 word essay
  • 50% 2 hour unseen exam

Suggested reading

  • Freeman, Chinkin and Rudolph, CEDAW Commentary (OUP, 2015)
  • Hellum and Aasen, Women's Human Rights: CEDAW in International, Regional and National Law (Studies on Human Rights Conventions, 2013/5)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules