The Global Campaign for Equality in Family Law (GCEFL) wants governments across the world to live up to their responsibility to protect and promote the rights of all women and girls in matters relating to the family. Our overarching goal is to achieve equality for women, girls, and other marginalised groups, under laws, policies, and practices that relate to families in all their diversity, regardless of religion and culture.
We will do this by unifying and catalysing an international movement, bringing together like-minded advocates and allies for family law reform from around the world.
What we do
Attaining equality in the family is a necessity, not a choice; it is the foundation stone upon which an equal society will stand. Through a collaborative, three-tiered approach, we will:
Make equality in family law, policy, and practice a global priority by 2030.
Strengthen solidarity and collaborative action within and across regional networks and campaigns.
Support and amplify national level efforts to reform family law.
2030 will be a crucial milestone for gender equality. It aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as 50 years since the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) entered into force as an international treaty.
Our Guiding Principles
Our approach to tackling inequality in family law is led by our guiding principles.
- We advocate that achieving equality in the family is a vital step towards realising equality in society. The reform of family law will pave the way for gender equality nationally and globally.
- We address family law as a body of statutes, rules and regulations, court procedures, and customary and uncodified laws and practices that govern relationships within family units. It includes but is not limited to, areas of marriage and family relations that fall under Article 16 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
- We aim to bring together advocates and allies for family law reform to build a global voice demanding equality in the family. We will use the spaces opening up at regional and global levels to galvanise international action and build momentum among civil society actors, governments and the UN system on the urgent necessity for family law reform.We will work with:
- The United Nations and other international fora and regional bodies, to put pressure on national governments to achieve equality in family law.
- Women’s rights activists and civil society actors, to organise and challenge patriarchal family systems, laws, and practices.
- Religious and cultural leaders, to promote positive changes for women and girls in the family.
- We assert that stakeholders at international, regional and national levels must consider family law a priority human rights concern. This includes ensuring that family laws are egalitarian, procedures are just and fair, court systems effectively provide access to justice for women and girls, and discriminatory and harmful practices are criminalised.
- We acknowledge that improvements in laws and policies are necessary, but not sufficient. We believe that transforming gender and power relations – and the structures, norms and values that underpin them – is critical to challenging inequality within families.
The primary focus of GCEFL’s work is on laws. While we recognise that laws alone are not enough – their implementation is necessary and must be monitored to ensure that they are not misused – they are key to triggering, expediting, and sustaining change towards gender equality.
Key words used in our campaign and how we define them:
By family, we mean families in all their diverse forms, with recognition that laws & practices as they currently stand discriminate heavily against women & girls.
Additional guidance for the definition of families is taken from the UN Women ‘Families in a Changing World’ – Progress of the World’s Women Report, 2019-2020, which shows “significant diversity in family structures and relationships––across regions, within countries and over time”, and from the POWW factsheet, which says “families are diverse and changing (married, non-marriage, co-habitation, divorced, separated)”.
De facto (in practice) and de jure (in law). A body of statutes, rules and regulations, court procedures, and customary and uncodified laws and practices that govern relationships within family units.
‘Substantive equality’ as guided by CEDAW, with additional guidance from General recommendation No. 25. In summary, it is not necessarily enough to guarantee identical treatment between women and men, so that every woman and girl has the opportunity to enjoy their rights.
Equality of opportunity in terms and access to the resources of a country, to be secured by a framework of laws and policies, and supported by institutions and mechanisms for their operation.
Equality of results upon access and opportunity, toward achieving real change for women. State parties to CEDAW have a responsibility to ensure the practical realisation of rights, and are therefore obliged to show results.
GCEFL believes that through collective action we can build a global voice demanding equal rights for women and girls in all matters relating to the family. Join GCEFL as a member to participate in global and regional advocacy, benefit from national level amplification, share thought leadership and expertise, and access information and resources.Join Us