"Remember the Ladies": a Feminist Perspective on Bills of Rights
Women have been made legislators comparatively recently in the history of western democracies, but they have sought to influence the content of laws for centuries. The author examines the UK Human Rights Act 1998 ('UKHRA') and New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 ('NZBORA') from a feminist perspective. The article begins by exploring the nature of rights generally, concluding that both NZBORA and UKHRA only enshrine "first generation rights" which represent only the male perspective of human rights discourse. While these legislated human rights have been used to enforce women's interests in court, the same rights are also used to restrict women's interests (for example, in the criminal justice process). It is difficult to construct a case for women within any Bill of Rights framework when the rights they rely on are outside said framework. The author therefore concludes that the Courts have failed to live up to the promise of achieving justice for women
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