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International Conference: Gender Equality as Part of the International Human Rights Law

On June 2nd International Conference: Gender Equality as Part of the International Human Rights Law took place in Azerbaijan – Baku.

The event was organized by the Azerbaijan Bar Association, Сhаmbеr of Advocates of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – Project Со-оrdinаtоr in the Republic of Uzbekistan. The Conference was dedicated to the 120th anniversary of the first female lawyer of the Turkic countries, Mrs. Sureyya Aghaoghlu. Süreyya Ağaoğlu was the first female lаwуеr in Тurkey (worked as a lawyer from 1927 till 1989) and Аzеrbаijаn as well as the second president of the International Confederation of Woman Lawyers.

The conference was attended by the Chairpersons of the Bar Associations and its representatives from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Turkiye, Serbia, Bulgaria, Ireland, and India.

During the meeting following Topics were discussed.

  • Gender Equality and Mainstreaming from the International Perspective;
  • Towards Gender Equality: Ending Violence Against Women;
  • Addressing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment;

At the end of the conference, a joint statement (declaration) was signed regarding gender equality, which will support the improvement of the gender policy in the participating countries, strengthen the protection of women’s rights, elaborate on the appropriate mechanisms for women’s rights protection and ensuring access to effective protection in practice

The European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL) was represented by its Vice President – David Asatiani. In his opening remarks, it was highlighted that the cooperation, as well as systemic collaboration of the European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL) with the Azerbaijani Bar Association and Azerbaijani lawyers, is particularly rather significant for our legal professionals, both within the gender equality context, as well as in the wider legal framework. This allows us to address the challenges together and share the best international practices.

David Asatiani underlined that “Gender equality and women’s rights must be at the heart of a renewed social contract that is fit for today’s societies and economies. This is a vitally important topic when it comes to defending human rights, promoting the rule of law, and supporting democratic reforms. Bar associations and law societies can play a fundamental role in promoting gender equality, among others, by encouraging their members to adopt and implement policies that tackle gender inequality and improve work-life balance that benefits all. With the increasing challenges to women’s rights across the globe, the position of women in law is as important as ever. The road to achieving gender equality is long and challenging, that requires a comprehensive approach, responsibility, and joint action by all: institutions and individuals. Not only the absence of a discriminatory legal framework is vital for achieving gender equality, but relevant legislation or policies should not be discriminatory in their impact and consequences. In addition, more emphasis should be placed on the culture change. Culture provides a unique space where gender roles and social norms are constantly questioned and reimagined, thus challenging stereotypes that present barriers to gender equality”.

By the end of the conference, it was once more underlined that the representative of the legal profession should stress that legal professions have the authority and resources to support women by advocating for gender equality, providing equal access to the profession, and opportunities to progress in their careers without fear of stigma or exclusion

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