Feminist Law & Practice (FLP)

This long standing programme focuses on building capacity of women’s rights advocates and organisations to transform discriminatory laws, policies and practices and increase women’s access to justice. The programme recently incorporated urgent response and solidarity support to Women Human Rights Defenders during crisis periods through feminist litigation strategies, trial observations and campaigns.

APWLD believes that while law can be used to oppress women, it can also be used as an instrument to realise justice, equality and human rights. While using law as a powerful tool, APWLD also recognises that law is not neutral and often shaped to reinforce the status quo of power relations.

In the Asia Pacific region the barriers to justice may be legislative (numerous discriminatory laws exist as well as a lack of legislation to promote women’s rights in many countries), administrative (barriers within the judiciary, evidence requirements, accessibility and corruption), lack of enforcement (entrenched barriers within the police forces and priorities), cultural (social and familial pressure not to persist with claims) and economic (inability to afford legal representation, pay officials, attend courts or lodge forms).

In some countries in the region legal rights are being eroded and significant work needs to be done to protect existing rights let alone advance them.

APWLD works to build a community of legal activists, lawyers, policy makers and implementers who are committed to advancing women’s rights through law. We aim to equip them with the knowledge, skills and networks to analyse and challenge discriminatory laws and practices against women.

This programme has two key strategies. The first is to provide Feminist Legal Training, the second is to instigate legal campaigns to advance women’s rights.

The objectives of each strategy are:

Feminist Legal Training and Practice

  • Enhance the capacity of national groups and individuals to effectively challenge discriminatory laws and practices in their countries by applying international conventions and precedents.
  • Build a network of women working to advance the legal rights of women in Asia Pacific.

Instigating Campaigns

  • To increase the capacity of legal advocates in Asia Pacific to campaign for women’s legal rights.
  • To change one identified law, policy or practice in the region to advance women’s legal rights.