Since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1979, great strides in gender equality have been made. Women now make up 40 percent of the global labor force, 43 percent of the world’s agricultural labor force and more than half the world’s university students. The gender disparity for women and girls with regard to educational enrollment, life expectancy and labor force participation has considerably shrunk. Yet gender gaps persist, particularly with regard to higher mortality rates of girls and women, disparities in girls’ education, unequal access to economic opportunities and differences in household and societal decision-making. These gender gaps are exacerbated by legal discrimination against women. Where there are laws providing equal rights, they are not always known, implemented nor adequately enforced. Women and girls often have unequal access to the judicial system. Where laws may exist, local traditions, culture and religion may affect a woman’s decision to bring her case forward, but also any subsequent enforcement of the laws.  Gender equality affects both men and women and empowers everyone and contributes to economic efficiency, more inclusive institutions and representative political climates.

CEDAW provides a comprehensive framework to advance women's rights and has been ratified by 187 countries to date. Because strong legal and judicial systems that equitably uphold the rule of law for all are an important cornerstone of sustainable political, economic and social development it is vital to have a resource of women's rights around the world for global knowledge exchange. The International Models Project on Women's Rights (IMPOWR) is an open and dynamic platform for sharing information on gender equality and women's rights under the law around the world. Our intent is to empower the global community to exchange knowledge and wisdom on effective law reform and enforcement efforts. In this vein, the IMPOWR project consists of two parts – our website and virtual journal, and our Research Database. To learn more about the IMPOWR project, please click here.

Volunteer with IMPOWR

IMPOWR is currently seeking the aid of researchers to contribute to our fully searchable, wiki-like Research Database. Since this is a user-generated database, you may find that content on various countries or in certain subject areas is incomplete or even inaccurate—this is where we rely on you to input new data and keep the current data up-to-date. Researchers contribute content to the database in areas where they have relevant experience and are not directly coordinated by IMPOWR staff. Individuals interested in this path can simply sign up on the IMPOWR Login page by selecting “Create a New Account.” Our How to Get Started section provides greater detail on submitting content as a Contributor. We also have a variety of other roles for those who are interested in working most closely with the IMPOWR project. Please contact IMPOWR for more information.

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