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New Penn Law Externship at UN Women in New York

November 04, 2016

In Fall 20016, Hayley Winograd L’17 and Arhama Rushdi L’18 were selected as the first two Penn Law externs appointed under our new flagship agreement with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide. Among other issues, UN Women works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; empowerment of women; and achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action, and peace and security.

Penn Law’s new externship with UN Women focuses on the international human rights system as it relates to the protection and promotion of women, the intersectionality of human rights conventions, treaty bodies, UN Security Council Resolutions, and UN special procedures.  Guided by UN Women advisors and Associate Dean de Silva de Alwis, our externs are analyzing the adoption of gender equality rights in comparative constitutions in emerging democracies and post- conflict states.  Research will include the domestic application and implementation of international norms and the mechanisms for enforcing the human rights of women, including gaps in treaty body reporting, strengths and weaknesses in lawmaking and challenges in women’s rights litigation.

These externships target issues of gender equality and the law, and provide an unparalleled opportunity for our students to help inform the new Strategic Plan of UN Women.  In the first year, our externs have researched and analyzed the human rights policies of the Executive Board Members of UN Women (41 Member States) in preparation for the new Strategic Plan of UN Women. Working with the Secretary to the Board, externs have developed briefing documents on each of the Member States.

Securing the protection and promotion of the human rights of women globally remains one of the major challenges of the 21st century. Notwithstanding the significant advances in international human rights norms relating to women, systemic discrimination and inequality remain pervasive.  Penn Law students are passionate in their commitment to this challenge.