2023: The power of collaborative, feminist organizing

Posted in: Free our Family Laws December 15, 2023
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2023: The power of collaborative, feminist organizing

“The success of the GCEFL this year demonstrated the power of collaborative, feminist organizing. The GCEFL is a truly global movement united behind our commitment to advancing equality for women and girls, by starting with the laws that perpetuate injustice and discrimination at the most foundational level of society, the family.” – Tori Pell, WLP

The Global Campaign for Equality in Family Law (GCEFL) launched in March 2020, is the first and only global campaign of its kind advocating for equality, justice, and dignity for women and girls in families, in all their diverse forms. 

As the year closes and we take stock of what 2023 has been, it’s impossible not to be moved by the commitment and dedication of our coordinating committee who have worked with dedication and passion to advance family law reform, gender equality and human rights at events and key moments throughout the year.

We will take these moments as inspiration as we plan for the year ahead.  

Some highlights included: 

  1. A new website www.equalfamilylaws.org

  1. The International Day of the Families – Week of Action 

The GCEFL commemorated the May 15 the  International Day of the Families with a ‘Week of Action’ for family law reform, in collaboration with members of the Corodinating Committee. Our online initiatives gained a whooping 17000+ engagement on multiple GCEFL platforms. Highlights of the Week of Action included: 

Media coverage of press conference in Malaysia and article on GCEFL in Kenya

  1. Concurrent event on “Family Law: A Crucial Feminist Issue for Achieving Gender Equality” at Women Deliver Conference in Kigali Rwanda 

On July 18th, the GCEFL held the Concurrent event tilted ‘Family Law: A Crucial Feminist Issue for Achieving Gender Equality’ with an audience of 150+ participants at the 2023 Women Deliver Conference. A diverse panel of speakers representing MENA, Asia, and Africa discussed how family law continue to be highly discriminatory and highlighted crucial correlations between family law and other key human rights issues of our time, including socio-political participation of women, SRHR and bodily autonomy, economic rights, and even climate justice. 

it brought so much joy to me to see GCEFL alongside so many well known and incredible women’s rights organizations. We belong in this spaces and we will continue to bring up the issue of family law in these important spaces where it has been neglected for far too long.” – Kelsey Hatchett, MPV USA

“Women Deliver felt like a rock concert for feminists! It provided inspiration and solidarity at a time when the global pushback against gender equality, women’s and girls’ rights, as well as the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community, is unmistakable. Our concurrent session brought together numerous inspiring and courageous individuals who spoke out against discriminatory family laws and norms impacting the lives of women and girls. It truly felt like our message resonated and made an impact.” – Karin Hugsen, Act Church of Sweden 

  1. Latin America and the Caribbean – Regional Convening on Family Law and the False Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) 

On 25th – 27th September 2023, the Global Campaign for Equality in Family Law (GCEFL) in collaboration with CLADEM and Equality Now held a “Regional Strategic Meeting on Family Law and the False Parental Alienation Syndrome in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) Region” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Together with 34  lawyers, protective mothers, academics and activists from Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina and Puerto Rico, the convening saw focused and productive discussions towards deepening and broadening our understanding on false Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and family laws in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region and building strategies to fight false PAS and protect mothers and children in disputed divorce and custody cases.

“This was the first (hopefully not the last) event on Family Law in LAC in the context of the Global Campaign. It was important to meet in person in a qualified forum, and exchange experiences on the false parental alienation syndrome and how it has been presented in the region as a new form of gender-based violence against women. It was such a powerful experience of sharing, connectedness and empowering feminism” – Tamara Amoroso Gonsalves, CLADEM

  1. Strategic interventions at the international level
  •  October – CEDAW Committee briefing at UN Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland

Over 60 percent of the 440 reservations entered against CEDAW are based on religion, and the most reserved article of all UN human rights treaties is Article 16 of CEDAW. In the past 15 years, only 6 countries have partially or fully lifted reservations as of 2023. To date, 26 countries continue to have full or partial reservations to Article 16 of CEDAW. The pace for states to lift reservations on Article 16 remains excruciatingly slow. 

In October 2023, the GCEFL presented our research on the time spent on Article 16 by the CEDAW Committee during Constructive Dialogues with the State parties and raised the concerns that Article 16 is the last article brought up during Constructive Dialogues with the State parties, with very limited time. We urged the CEDAW Committee to consider alternative ways to raise Article 16 related issues especially in countries with highly discriminatory family laws and reservations to the article. 

“It felt powerful filling up the room with members of GCEFL demonstrating that there are individuals who are committed to holding people in power accountable to utilize the power they have for positive change. ” – Kelsey Hatchett, MPV USA

  • Meeting with the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls on continuing to include family law reform in their mandate 

The GCEFL also virtually met with the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls, to hear from them about their engagement with family law, as well as brief them about the ongoing work of the Global Campaign. Potential future collaborations were also discussed. 

“Through the GCEFL, WLP was able to invite our national partner in Morocco to share about the movement of family law reform happening in the country.  In that moment I felt the power of when the reach of international coalitions and the expertise of national movements come together. As a committee member this type of collaboration is exactly what I’d hope to achieve!”Tori Pell, WLP

  1. Welcoming new members 

In May 2023, the GCEFL opened our membership to community, national, regional, or global organisations and groups (registered or otherwise) who are working on family law-related issues or intersecting women’s rights issues and have a shared commitment to human rights and feminist movement building.

We’re very excited to welcome six new members – ACT Alliance, the Indian Muslim Women’s Movement, PA Human Rights Movement Bir Duino – Kyrgyzstan, Legal Aid Society – Pakistan, Women for Equality and Justice – South Sudan and Global Fund for Widows to the GCEFL Coalition! We look forward to exciting collaborations ahead in 2024. 

Find out more about joining the campaign.

For more, read some of our articles on family law published this year: 

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