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High-Level Roundtable on Women and Legislative Reform

March 10, 2017 - New York

On the eve of the Commission on the Status of Women’s 61st session in New York, Penn Law, UN Women, UNESCO, The UN Sustainable Development Goals Fund, and IDLO will convene leading women jurists, legislators, policymakers and advocates who have engaged in legislative and policy drafting in their countries for a high level roundtable hosted by the premier law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. 



Date  Friday, 10 March
Time/Venue 9:00-9:30am — Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Event Welcome 

Begoña Lasagabaster, Chief of Leadership & Government
UN Women 

Saniye Gülser Corat, Director of the Division for Gender Equality

Paloma Durán, Director
The UN Sustainable Development Goals Fund                   

Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Associate Dean of International Affairs
University of Pennsylvania Law School


9:30-11:30am — Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Event    Panel 1 — Addressing Gender Discrimination

Moderated by Begoña Lasagabaster, Chief of Leadership & Government, UN Women

  • Gulser Corat — Education Laws
  • Xiaonan Liu — Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights & Interests in China
  • Rachel Micah-Jones – Impact of International Labor Recruitment & Temporary Worker Programs on Women
  • Slyvia Chirawu – Zimbabwe’s 1997 Amendment to Property & Inheritance Rights
  • Elizabeth Salguero – Political Representation of Women in Bolivia

Concluding Observations by Lashawn Jefferson, Deputy Director, Perry World House


1:30am-1:30pm — Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz


Panel 2 — Violence against Women


Moderated by: Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Associate Dean of International Affairs, University of Pennsylvania Law School

  • Kavita N. Ramdas – Sexual Violence Laws in India
  • Farahnaz Ispahani — Acid Crime Law of Pakistan
  • Leta Hong — China’s Domestic Violence Law
  • Agnes Igoye — Trafficking Law in Uganda
  • Fatima Kassem— Legal Concerns of Women in Lebanon
  • Jacqueline Pitanguy – Maria da Penha Law of Brazil

Concluding Observations by Alicia Pucheta de Correa, President of the Supreme Court of Justice in Paraguay

Time/Venue 1:30-3:30pm — Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Event  Lunch Reception and Panel

Opening Comments: Moushira Khattab

A Journey to Drafting the Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Law in Egypt: A Story of Strategic Advocacy and Building Bridges with Grassroots and Male Leaders

Ambassador Moushira Khattab, former Egyptian Ambassador to South Africa and Italy and former Minister for Family and Population, Egypt

While examining the implementation of the laws, we will also explore some new reformist initiatives. In Egypt, certain proposed legislation on women includes a personal status bill as well as bills on domestic violence, human trafficking and municipal elections are in the pipeline.   

The draft personal law disallows unilateral divorce and requires the presence of both parties to a divorce. It also provides that the alimony shall not be less than 25% of the husband’s income, and it allows for DNA testing to establish paternity.

The draft domestic violence law criminalizes marital rape and “girls’ sale”. Municipal elections law calls for the allocation of one quarter of the seats to youth under the age of 35 and another quarter for women.


Panel 3 — Personal Laws

Moderated by Haleh Esfandiari,former & founding Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

  • Mahnaz Afkhami – Family Law in Iran
  • Rabea Naciri — Family Code Reform in Morocco
  • Yakin Erturk — Family Law in Turkey
  • Asma Khader — Gender Equality & Legal Reform Experience of the Women’s Rights Movement in Jordan

Concluding Observations by Lina Abou-Habib, Executive Director, Women’s Learning Partnership

Time/Venue 3:30-4:00pm — Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
 Event   Closing Comments

Jodi Schwartz, Partner, Tax, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Time/Venue 4:00-5:00pm — Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Event  Closing Reception