Combatting Violence Against Women Increasing Awareness About Rights Women's Rights, Human Rights
Research was integral to the work of WLDI. From the beginning WLDI worked to identify, articulate and clarify the rights issues that affect women’s lives and the strategies that women use to assure their full exercise of rights. We realized that to be effective, such strategies needed to be grounded in women’s real experiences of obstacles and solutions, which would require in-depth, participatory, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary research. This was achieved by providing a forum for women to identify, explore and craft responses to emerging issues as they surfaced. By bringing together women’s rights activists from around the world to identify and articulate common issues and to generate new thinking on rights challenges facing women, WLDI developed a unique perspective on such issues and their strategies for change. This approach to research was integral to and fed WLDI’s other work of advocacy and capacity building.
Participatory, Cross-cultural, Interdisciplinary Characteristics of WLD research
There were three key issues of concern that emerged from the early organizing efforts (the Nairobi forum and regional organizing): understanding and combatting violence against women, raising awareness about rights in an effective way, and clarifying the nexus between women’s rights and human rights and developing strategies to use the international human rights system. Two major research projects targeted these themes. One engaged women from Asia, Africa and Latin America in a participatory research process that explored strategies to combat violence against women and legal literacy as a tool for women’s empowerment. The other, focusing on women’s human rights, produced a manual, a workbook, plus a full curriculum for a course on understanding and implementing women’s human rights at the local, national and international levels. Consistent with WLDI’s approach to research as participatory, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, these projects focused on the actual experiences of practitioners and on the theoretical insights of academics in both law and other disciplines. The process engaged the researchers from the very beginning in the definition of terms as well as the design of the research with the goal of responding correctly to the actual needs of advocates and activists implementing strategies at various levels.
In the "Advocacy" section of this website, other research initiatives on violence against women and human rights will be described in relation to the goal of influencing agendas, legislation and recommendations at the national and international (UN) levels.
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