Women and Justice: Keywords

Domestic Case Law

Mohan v Ireland Supreme Court of Ireland (2019)

Gender discrimination

Section 17(4B) of the Electoral Act 1997 introduced a provision aimed at addressing a significant disparity in the sex of members of parliament in Ireland (“TDs”). Only 15.1% of TDs elected in 2011 were women. The figure has never exceeded 20%. The 2012 Act tried to solve this problem via candidate selection; it tied the level of political funding allocated to a political party to the gender balance of its candidates. From the first general election after the section came into force, a party would lose 50% of its public funding if at least 30% of its candidates in that election were not women (or if 30% of its candidates were not men). Seven years after that, the minimum requirement for each gender would increase to 40% or the same penalty would apply. The Act deals only with candidature, not election. It also does not compel a party to select any particular candidate, but instead penalises the party with a withdrawal of public funds for non-conformity. In this case, a member of a political party challenged the constitutionality of this measure on several grounds after his party did not select him as a candidate and informed him that their candidate “must be” a woman. He claimed that this was a result of the 2012 Act, in violation of several constitutional provisions, including the equality guarantee in Article 40.1; the right to free speech and association under Article 40.6; and the Article 16.1.1° guarantee that every citizen without distinction of sex is eligible for the Irish parliament. The High Court rejected these claims due to lack of standing; the plaintiff could not show ‘any, or any sufficient, causal nexus between the direction of the party excluding his nomination from consideration at the relevant candidate selection convention and the operation of that provision’. The court was not satisfied that the party would not, without the influence of the 2012 Act, have implemented gender quotas of its own motion. This finding was upheld by the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court found that the plaintiff had standing, but also acknowledged that this sophisticated piece of legislation was pursuing an important social goal through “positive discrimination” on gender grounds and controlling public funding for political representation. Therefore, the court found that the case could be addressed on its merits rather than decided on the basis of standing and remitted it to the High Court for a full hearing.

Ts'epe v. Independent Electoral Commission Court of Appeal of Lesotho (2005)

Gender discrimination

The plaintiff was a male citizen who planned to run for office. The electoral commission advised him that the seat he desired was reserved only for female candidates pursuant to the electoral quota instituted by the Local Government Election Act of 1998. The plaintiff challenged the constitutionality of the electoral commission’s refusal to register his candidacy based on his sex. The High Court acknowledged that the Election Act disadvantaged men by reason of their sex alone. It also noted that, although 51% of the population of Lesotho was female, only 12% of the seats in the National Assembly were held by women. The Court ultimately upheld the constitutionality of the Election Act as a carefully designed measure intended to achieve the important national goal of increasing the number of women in the National Assembly.

Ts’epe v. Independent Electoral Commission and Others Court of Appeal of Lesotho (2005)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

In 2004 an amendment was introduced to the Local Government Elections Act 1998 (the “Amendment”) that reserved one third of all seats in every local council for women, the remainder was open to both men and women alike. The constitutionality of the electoral quota was challenged by a man whose candidacy for local government was rejected on the single ground that the electoral division at issue was reserved for women. The appellant argued that these measures are unconstitutional since women’s participation in local governments could have been achieved without debarring men from the same. The Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the court a quo, dismissed the appeal and held that the Amendment was not unconstitutional, among others, since the impugned measures were carefully designed to achieve its objective, they were rationally connected to the objective and impaired the appellant’s rights in question as little as possible.


Виборчий кодекс України (Electoral Code of Ukraine (No.396-IX)) (2019)

Gender discrimination

The Electoral Code of Ukraine establishes the rights of citizens to participate in elections, and governs preparation and procedures for elections to state and local authorities. The Electoral Code establishes: any direct or indirect privileges or restrictions on the voting rights of Ukrainian citizens based on sex or other grounds are prohibited. The Code also established a gender quota, which requires that at least two of five candidates of electoral list of parties must be women (if the number of candidates is not a multiple of five, there is an alternate requirement for inclusion of candidates of different genders). A significant new measure of this legislation is the introduction of liability for the refusal of a party to register sufficient women candidates.

Виборчий кодекс України встановлює права громадян на участь у виборах, регулює підготовку та порядок проведення виборів до органів державної влади та органів місцевого самоврядування. Виборчий кодекс встановлює, що будь-які прямі чи непрямі привілеї або обмеження виборчих прав громадян України за ознаками статті чи за іншими ознаками забороняються. Кодекс також встановив гендерну квоту, відповідно до якої принаймні двоє з п’яти кандидатів у виборчий список партій повинні бути жінками (якщо кількість кандидатів не кратна п’яти, існує альтернативна вимога щодо включення кандидатів різної статі). Суттєвим нововведенням цього законодавства є запровадження відповідальності за відмову партії зареєструвати достатню кількість жінок-кандидатів.

Bundes-Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (B-GlBG) (Federal Equality Act) (1993)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The Federal Equality Act aims at creating equality throughout various service agreements (see Section 1) the Federal Government might have with individuals. The main body no. 1 (1. Hauptstück) focuses on the equal treatment of men and women (Section 3). Section 7(2) states that job advertisements should be written in such a way that they equally refer to both men and women and do not contain details that could lead to the conclusion that the advertisement is only for one gender. Sections 8 and 8a define sexual and gender-based harassment and emphasize that they constitute gender discrimination. Section 11 requires the promotion of equal opportunities for women. Section 11b states that, where women are underrepresented (meaning less than 50% of employees), employers must prioritize women applicants if they are equally well suited for the position as the best-suited male applicant until the percentage of employed women reaches at least 50%. Section 11c applies the same rule to job promotions. Section 11d provides that employers must prioritize female employees in participation in training and coaching measures to prepare them to assume higher-ranking and more senior positions.

Das Bundes-Gleichbehandlungsgesetz zielt darauf ab, für alle Dienstverhältnisse, die die Bundesregierung mit Einzelpersonen hat, Gleichheit zu schaffen. Das 1. Hauptstück des Gesetzes fokussiert sich auf die Gleichbehandlung von Mann und Frau (§ 3). § 7 Abs. 2 verlangt, dass Stellenausschreibungen in einer Art und Weise verfasst werden müssen, dass sie sich gleichermaßen an Männer und Frauen wenden und keine Details enthalten, die den Leser zu dem Schluss kommen lassen könnten, dass die Ausschreibung sich nur an ein Geschlecht richtet. § 8 und § 8a betonen, dass eine Diskriminierung auch in einem Fall vorliegt, in dem ein Arbeitnehmer (sexuell) belästigt wird. § 11 enthält ein Frauenförderungsgebot. In diesem Sinne gelten Frauen als unterrepräsentiert, wenn weniger als 50% der Angestellten Frauen sind. Nach § 11b müssen Frauen in unterrepräsentierten Bereichen bei der Bewerberauswahl bevorzugt behandelt werden, wenn sie für die Stelle gleichgeeignet sind wie der bestqualifizierte männliche Bewerber. Dies gilt, bis der Anteil der Frauen in diesem Bereich mindestens 50% beträgt. § 11c wendet diese Regel auch auf Beförderungen an. Nach § 11d sind weibliche Angestellte zur Teilnahme an Aus- und Weiterbildungsmaßnahmen, die zur Übernahme höherwertiger Verwendungen qualifizieren, vorrangig zuzulassen.

Izborni zakon (Election law) (2001)

Gender discrimination

The Election Law promotes women’s participation in political and public life by mandating that every candidates list shall include candidates of male and female gender. There must be at least 40% female candidates. English translation available from RefWorld here.

Ley del Régimen electoral 1985 (última revisión 2018) (Law on the General Electoral Regime) (2018)

Gender discrimination

Article 44 bis mandates that the lists proposed by political parties for elections to the Lower House of Congress, municipalities, regional parliaments and the European Parliament shall consist of a minimum of 40% women.

El Artículo 44 exige que las listas propuestas por los partidos políticos para las elecciones a la Cámara Baja del Congreso, los municipios, los parlamentos regionales y el Parlamento Europeo estén formadas por un mínimo del 40% de mujeres.

Ligji Nr. 05/L -020 Për Barazi Gjinore (Law No. 05/L -020 on Gender Equality) (2015)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, LGBTIQ, Sexual harassment

Law No. 05/L-020 on Gender Equality promotes gender equality, by defining the relevant concepts, setting forth various measures to protect equal rights of genders, and specifying the institutions responsible for gender equality. The Law defines “woman” and “man” as including any person who considers oneself as such, and describes gender identity – which does not require medical intervention – as a “protected characteristic.” Direct and indirect gender discrimination are prohibited under the Law, including less favorable treatment of women for reasons of pregnancy, maternity, or sexual orientation, and gender-based violence. Harassment and sexual harassment are also forbidden, and whether a person refuses or surrenders to such behavior shall not be used as a basis for a decision affecting that person in a legal proceeding. The Law directs the Kosovo institutions to implement various general measures to achieve gender equality in Kosovo, including gender mainstreaming in all policies and legislation, gender budgeting in all areas, and ensuring recruitment and appointment are consistent with the requirement for equal representation of women and men. In areas where inequities exist, public institutions are further instructed by the Law to take temporary special measures to accelerate the realization of gender equality, including quotas, preferential treatment, hiring, and promotion. The Law in particular requires legislative, executive, and judicial bodies at all levels to adopt special measures until equal gender representation is achieved. The Law establishes an Agency for Gender Equality to support the implementation of the Law, and further mandates that all ministries and municipalities must appoint gender equality officials, and allocate sufficient resources from their budget, to implement the Law. Discrimination on bases including sex, pregnancy, or birth, is prohibited in employment matters including access to employment or training, and working conditions. In regard to education, the Law proscribes sex discrimination in access to education and scholarships, evaluation results, and attainment of degrees, and mandates the inclusion of gender equality education in school curricula at all levels. Persons who believe the principle of equal treatment has not been implemented in relation to them may initiate proceeding in accordance with the Law on Protection from Discrimination. Violations of the Law are punishable by fines of up to 700 Euros for individuals, and 900 Euros for legal entities. (Unoffocial English version available here.)

Local Authorities Act (1992)

Gender discrimination

The Local Authorities Act establishes local authority councils within local government and defines their powers, duties and functions. The Act provides that the slate of candidates from any given political party up for election in a municipal, village or town council election must contain at least three female persons where the council consists of 10 or fewer members and at least five female persons where a council consists of 11 or more members, in an attempt to increase the presence of women in decision making positions.

Co-Operatives Act (1996)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

This Act states that where a co-operative has more than five female members, or if more than one-third of its members are women (whichever is the lesser) and no woman has been elected as a member of its board, the board must appoint a woman as a board member within its first meeting to increase the representation of women in management positions. A similar provision is provided for sub-committees of boards.

On the Local Elections (No. 595-VIII) (2015)

Gender discrimination

This act, the Local Election Act of Ukraine, was superseded and replaced by the 2019 Electoral Code of Ukraine. The Local Election Act established quotas for female representation in legislative bodies at local level elections. required that representation of persons of one sex in the electoral lists of candidates for members of local councils in multi-mandate constituencies should be at least 30% of the total number of candidates in the electoral roll.

Про політичні партії в Україні (On the Political Parties in Ukraine (No. 2365-III)) (2001)

Gender discrimination

This act regulates the procedure of creation and operation of political parties. It requires a 30% gender quota for all party lists. (i.e., the minimum percentage of men and women in the list). It also entitled political parties to ideological, organizational, and material support for the creation of women's and other associations of citizens. If a political party violates citizens' equality based on their gender or other grounds, the authorized central body of the executive power should immediately file an administrative lawsuit requesting that the court ban the political party.

Закон регулює порядок створення та діяльності політичних партій. Цей закон встановив 30% гендерну квоту для всіх партійних списків (мінімальний рівень представництва жінок і чоловіків у виборчому списку кандидатів). Закон України "Про політичні партії" надав політичним партіям право на ідейну, організаційну та матеріальну підтримку створення жіночих та інших об'єднань громадян. У разі вчинення політичною партією дій, що порушують рівноправність громадян за ознакою статі чи за іншими ознаками, уповноважений центральний орган виконавчої влади повинен невідкладно подати до суду адміністративний позов про заборону політичної партії.