Sisters For Change has launched a series of reports on behalf of the Equality & Justice Alliance. This report commissioned by Sisters For Change and authored by Jaspreet K. Singh, Hansdeep Singh, Erin Thomas and Natalie Druce of the International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination (ICAAD) explores the link between gender bias and stereotyping and violence against women and girls. Gender bias and gender stereotyping constitute forms of gender discrimination prohibited under international law. In recent years, gender stereotyping has come under increased scrutiny from the international legal community and it is now widely recognised that the persistence of gender stereotypes creates a normative framework in which discrimination and violence against women is normalised and perpetuated. The report analyses the development of international and regional standards and jurisprudence on State obligations to eliminate gender bias and stereotyping and identifies case studies of good practice from Commonwealth jurisdictions including Canada, Fiji, Namibia, Australia, New Zeland and the United Kingdom, which have produced pioneering case law and domestic legislation explicitly targeting gender bias.
Women and girls in Pacific Island Countries face the highest rates of violence globally, with 60-80% of women and girls aged 15-49 years experiencing intimate or non-intimate partner violence. Yet perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence often receive disproportionately low sentences or no custodial sentence at all. The report examines the scope of gender-based violence against women and girls in the Pacific Island Region and provides an in-depth analysis of the impact of gender bias and stereotyping on judicial decisions in violence against women across seven countries in the Commonwealth Pacific Island Region – Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Kiribati.
The purpose of this report is to highlight positive developments in international and regional standards, domestic legislation and case law targeting gender bias and stereotyping to inform and improve judicial decision-making in cases of violence against women and girls across the Pacific Island Region and the wider Commonwealth.