Tackling Gender Injustice Head On

The Clooney Foundation for Justice is proud to announce the launch of a new initiative to advance women’s rights.

Around the world, women and girls face pervasive discrimination and violence. The court system is supposed to protect women, but in many places it is used to perpetuate this harm. Sinister and outdated laws criminalize ‘immoral’ behavior by women. Pervasive practices such as child marriage, sexual violence, and expulsions of pregnant girls from school are lacking a concerted legal response. And many women face discrimination in the administration of justice or lack the means to access the system. Although governments have promised to protect women in their constitutions and treaties, many women are not able to use the law to claim their rights.

The Clooney Foundation for Justice’s new gender justice initiative, to be led by Amal Clooney with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, seeks to change that by working with women to claim their rights through the courts.

The project will, for the first time, gather much-needed data to identify laws and practices that are holding women back and identify legal advocacy opportunities to change them. Working hand in hand with women-led local organizations – initially in various jurisdictions in Africa – the team will then use legal avenues to overturn unfair laws, help victims get redress, and bring perpetrators to justice. By advocating for women and girls in the courtroom while simultaneously working to strengthen the laws that are supposed to protect them, this new program aims not only to shine a light on discrimination faced by women but also put an end to it.

“Having represented victims of sexual and gender-based violence around the world, I have seen first-hand the difference legal support can make to the lives of marginalized women,” said Amal Clooney, Co-President of CFJ.

“We can combat the injustice that women face by ensuring that unfair laws are overturned and that those who abuse women are held to account. But advocacy for women’s rights should be done strategically, globally and at scale. So I am delighted to launch this initiative, one that is made possible through funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

CFJ has appointed Katheen Davis as the initiative’s Senior Program manager. Prior to joining CFJ, Ms. Davis served as the Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau where her work included promoting human rights and gender equality through the development and implementation of Canada’s feminist foreign and international assistance policies.

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