Gender and Human Rights (Foundation Course)

27 April-7 June 2016 (E05116) | Closed
Instructors: Corey Barr and Benjamin Stachursky

Gender equality has become a generally accepted refrain and gained secure positioning within international approaches to, and discourse on, development and human rights. However, it took decades of advocacy for gendered diversities to become effectively acknowledged as relevant to the international human rights system. In this process, the recognition that “women’s rights are human rights” played a central role.

In response, legal and normative instruments have been introduced to address the marginalisation of women and girls, such as the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA). Increasingly, other issues relevant to gender equality are gaining attention, for instance those pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity and the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality. International policies and strategies such as gender mainstreaming have been developed to advance the achievement of gender equality in practice. Significant steps continue to be taken to build a human rights system that recognises the need for gender equality and diversity to be inherent to approaches for securing human rights for all.

This e-learning course provides a general introduction to the evolution of the concept of gender equality within the international human rights system. It provides a foundational understanding of the centrality of gender equality to human rights discourse generally and how this is addressed within the UN human rights system specifically. Participants will gain an overview of the various legal and normative frameworks that promote women’s rights, address gender identities, and advance practical approaches to securing gender equality. The course will also examine critical concepts such as intersectionality and cultural relativism as they relate to the enforcement of existing international approaches to advancing gender equality and human rights.

Course structure

This certificate course involves approximately 30 hours of reading, discussion, webinars and quizzes, and is offered over a six-week period. The course is based on a participatory, active learning approach, with an emphasis on critical reflection and peer-to-peer learning. Participants will do the required readings, prepare interim and final assignments and participate in group discussions. Case studies will be used to enable interactive learning and activities. The maximum number of course participants is 25. Students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Participation. It is also possible to audit the course.

Course outline

Week 1: Origins and evolution of gender equality and its links to human rights
Week 2: International normative and legal framework for gender equality and human rights
Week 3: Gender-based violence as a human rights issue
Week 4: Gender and identity, sexual orientation and human rights
Week 5: Critiques of the “gender and human rights” agenda, cultural relativism; the example of reproductive rights
Week 6: Advancing gender equality – overview of key tools and approaches

About the instructor: Corey Barr

Corey BarrCorey Barr is Program Associate at Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) where she works on the organization’s distance learning program and self-directed e-courses. Previously, Ms. Barr worked as an independent consultant on gender, peace and security issues during which time she worked at the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women and subsequently UN Women. Ms. Barr has also worked on gender, security, humanitarian affairs and human rights with the International Action Network on Small Arms, the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University, Mercy Corps, Amnesty International and the International Service for Human Rights. Corey Barr holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University and a university degree from Hampshire College. She is the co-instructor of the HREA e-learning courses Gender and Transitional Justice and Women, Peace and Security.

About the instructor: Benjamin Stachursky

Benjamin StachurskyBenjamin Stachursky has been working as a (freelance) consultant and researcher on human rights and gender issues in development cooperation since finishing his PhD in International Relations in 2010. He has worked on different projects for GIZ, the German Institute for Human Rights and Plan International. Since 2014 he is also regularly cooperating as Program Officer with Seidensticker Coaching and Consulting, a small Berlin-based consultancy. In his doctoral thesis he has been looking at the effects of processes of transnationalisation on women’s rights activism in Egypt and Iran. He has regularly been teaching university courses on issues related to his work for several years and recently finished a six-month train-the-trainer course. He has been the Egypt expert of the Amnesty International Germany for many years.

Who should apply

The course is intended for staff of inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, (under)graduate students, humanitarian practitioners, gender focal points and others interested in gender equality. Participants should have a good written command of English — the working language of the course — and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use. HREA aims to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants.


Tuition fee for participants: US$ 435 (after 15 April 2016: US$ 495); tuition for auditors: US$ 165 (US$ 195 after 15 April 2016). Payments can be made online with major credit cards (Discover, MasterCard, Visa), PayPal and bank transfer (additional fee applies). Bulk rates are available. Payments are due upon registration.

How to register

Registration is closed.

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Frequently asked questions about HREA’s e-learning courses.

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