Sisters For Change is proud to present this unique series of video vignettes of four pre-eminent women whom we are working with on law reform initiatives across Asia, the Pacific and beyond.
Selected to represent what we consider to be the four critical constituencies involved in law reform – civil society, legal experts, advocacy champions and government – these four incredible women narrate the personal and professional struggles they make every day to ensure laws don’t discriminate against women and girls, that they do protect them, and that the implementation of laws guarantees women’s rights. And while each individual testimony reflects the power of that stakeholder group to make positive change, each testimony also underlines the need for all four groups to work together to achieve legal reform that will truly deliver equal rights for women and girls and change all people’s lives for the better.
Changes in people’s lives
The Legal Activist – Ms Zainah Anwar
Zainah Anwar, Executive Director of global movement, Musawah and leading Muslim Feminist and global activist, explains why the reform of Muslim Family Laws is urgently needed for women in Malaysia and beyond, and explains how critical it is that Muslim women’s voices are heard in this on-going public policy debate. In early 2019, Sisters For Change commissioned Zainah and her team at Musawah to research the impact of Muslim Family Laws on women’s rights across 10 countries in Commonwealth Asia and Africa. This report was launched in Malaysia in November 2019 to spearhead the launch of Musawah’s global campaign for legal reform.
The Legal Expert – Adv Vrinda Grover
For more than two decades, Indian Supreme Court Advocate Vrinda Grover has appeared in landmark cases representing victims and survivors of sexual violence, custodial violence, communal conflict and women human rights defenders. She has contributed to the drafting of laws prohibiting violence against women and children, and worked to strengthen protection for religious minorities, marginalised populations and Scheduled Castes. Vrinda currently serves as a member of Sisters For Change Global Legal Expert Group – a panel of legal experts and practitioners who support and provide guidance to SFC’s legal and technical assistance programmes around the world.
The Legal Champion – Ms Khawar Mumtaz
Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Khawar Mumtaz has researched, championed and advocated for legal reforms to guarantee women’s rights and equality in Pakistan for nearly 40 years. A founder member of the Women’s Action Forum, Khawar was instrumental in building and then heading the prominent women’s rights organisation Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre, before she served for two terms as Chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women in Pakistan. Sisters For Change collaborated with Khawar as an invited speaker to the Sisters For Change High-Level Regional Dialogue on Reforming Discriminatory Laws in Malaysia in November 2019, where Khawar presented the challenge of legal reform in Pakistan and current priorities for the women’s rights movement today.
The Law Reform Official – Dr Lalotoa Mulitalo
In early 2019, the Samoa Law Reform Commission launched an ambitious 3-year programme to review and reform 6 core Family Laws – ranging from adoption and divorce law, to matrimonial property law and the family safety law, which seeks to protect women and other family members from domestic violence.
Sisters For Change partnered with the Samoa Law Reform Commission in 2019 to provide technical assistance to support the legal awareness-raising around these reforms. In this video, Dr Lalotoa Mulitalo, Executive Director of the Commission and a senior Government official who works closely with the Office of the Prime Minister, explains what motivated her to dedicate her career to law reform and the challenge of doing this authentically in a country with two legal systems.