July 11, 2011 – A new report by U.N. Women argues that in many countries the "infrastructure of justice-the police, the courts, and the judiciary-is failing women" and needs to be reformed to provide legal support that serves women's needs.

The report titled "Progress of the World's Women: In Pursuit of Justice," outlines 10 recommendations that hold immense potential to increase women's access to justice and improve gender equality.

1.        Support women's legal organizations: In many countries where government-funded legal aid is limited, women's legal organizations are one of the only sources women have to get legal advice and use the legal system to protect themselves and their rights. Women's legal organizations are also transforming the legal landscape by pushing reform efforts and championing strategic litigation cases.

2.        Implement gender-sensitive law reform: Gender-sensitive law reform demands that action is taken to repeal laws that explicitly discriminate against women, to extend the rule of law to the private domain, and to address the actual impact of laws on women's lives. The report cites the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as a "gold standard" for gender-sensitive legal reform, but highlights that it remains one of the U.N. treaties with the highest number of reservations. The report calls on U.N. Member States to accept all provisions of the convention, especially "Article 16," which guarantees women's rights within marriage and the family. Continue reading