Women’s Learning Partnership
Family Law Reform to Challenge Gender-Based Violence:
A Research-Based Advocacy Project
Terms of Reference (TOR) for Case Studies
Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP), with a gender-sensitive approach to its research, training and advocacy activities, is undertaking a research-based advocacy project designed to meet a critical need identified by women throughout the Global South. The project is funded by IDRC.
This project is mainly driven by a call from the partners and local communities with whom WLP has closely collaborated over the past 15 years for more tools that would enable women to counter current legal and social justifications for violence against women. Building on what we have already accomplished through our advocacy training on combatting gendered inequalities and discrimination that underlie violence against women reaching 50 countries, our successful campaigns for Family Law reform including in Morocco and the Million Signatures campaign in Iran, WLP intends to carry out a project focused entirely on challenging violence against women through the reform of laws impacting women in the family.
This will be the first globally launched advocacy project on gendered violence that is supported by both an interactive online Corpus of Laws – complete with legal analysis and good practices and strategies – and supplemented by an outreach, training, and advocacy campaign launched by our local partners and affiliates and a global campaign launched by WLP International.
The project is designed on the premise that Family Law, and any laws impacting women in the family, are one of the leading factors contributing to the justification of violence against women (this is, particularly evident in laws grounded in religion, as in the Sharia in some Muslim societies), and that any solution has to address both legislation and dominant cultural understandings in order to see legal reform actually implemented.
What inspires our rationale is the plurality of interpretations of the law and the benefit WLP has already documented derived by local communities when they have access to these different interpretations in confronting discriminatory impositions of legal provisions. Alternative interpretations will serve as advocacy tools for law reform at local levels and WLP will make them available to anyone with access to the Internet through an interactive online Corpus of Laws and website. To disseminate this information to those without Internet access, WLP will develop advocacy curricula on this topic, launch awareness campaigns and trainings, and provide case studies of success stories to be used for these trainings, as well as a “witness series” for women to share best practices and strategies.
This project will provide a support network to counter gender discriminatory laws that incite, encourage and/or justify violence against women, in the name of religion/culture and will become a powerful engine for collective advocacy against patriarchal violence.
Its results will encompass more than just changes to legal systems, since it addresses the root cause of social and cultural discourses that make reform and the actual implementation of progressive laws so challenging. WLP’s unique curriculum, training, and capacity building have and will continue to establish in mainstream culture the essential link between universal human rights, countering violence against women, and faith.
The initial phase of the project will include case studies from the following 11 WLP partner countries: Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Senegal, Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan, Palestine, Turkey, Iran, and Brazil, as well as an additional case study from India. In each of these countries, WLP has had experience collecting and documenting laws that impact women’s status and role in public and private life. The country researcher will work closely with WLP and partners in the respective countries while undertaking the tasks indicated in this TOR. Other case studies may follow if needed at a later phase of the project. The cases studies, a major component of the WLP project on family law and violence against women, will provide a basis for comparative analysis and road map for advocacy and action for change. These will be made available on the online Corpus of laws and disseminated widely through WLP’s advocacy, trainings, and public awareness campaigns.
2. Work Expected
Each case study, employing a gender perspective, is expected to, (i) analyze reform initiatives of discriminatory laws and their outcomes, (ii) lessons learned, i.e. what worked and didn’t work within the particular country experience and why?, (iii) propose further action for effective strategies for change and (iv) document the link between discriminatory family laws
and violence against women, while at the same time drawing on the relevant articles of the penal code and any other legislation.
In this respect, each researcher will undertake an annotated review of relevant literature with respect to the country concerned; develop a research design, elaborating its methodology, data collection techniques and work plan; undertake research accordingly; and provide a final report of approximately 12,000-15,000 words in addition to a bibliography and any relevant appendices on the outcome of the research and recommendations. The researcher will also organize, in collaboration with the WLP partner organization, a national workshop in which the researcher and experts in the field will analyze the results of the case study and make recommendations for a global strategy on law reform.
The working language, i.e. all communication and research outputs, reports etc., will be in English.
Specific activities to be undertaken include:
Review available literature, documents and any written information on the topic and compile an annotated list (to overcome repetition WLP will make available to the researcher a review of literature it has already compiled on the subject).
Identify the link between family laws and violence against women; specify indicators and methods used.
Analyze reform initiatives over the past 30 years in discriminatory laws; background of the reform – motivation, i.e. what led to the reform / actors involved / the process; positive and negative outcomes.
Analyze the implementation of the amended legal provisions and its impact on violence against women learned from the particular country experience for an effective family law reform strategy globally.
Write a comprehensive analysis of the review of family law, including relevant penal code provisions, reform initiatives and implementation, including lessons.
Dialogue with WLP country partner and between the various country research teams throughout the duration of the project as deemed necessary.
Coordinate, in collaboration with the WLP partner organization, a national workshop to analyze the outcomes of the case study and make recommendations for a global strategy on law reform.
3. WLP’s contribution
WLP will provide the researcher with the following:
Access to WLP publications and other sources
Access to WLP local partners where possible
Access to potential informants and stakeholders to the extent it is possible in
WLP partner and affiliate countries
Continuous advice, guidance and support
4. Time Frame
The case studies will be carried out from 1 May 2016 to 1 February 2017.
01 May 2016 - research teams begin case studies
20 May 2016 - research design, methodology and work plan submitted to WLP
20 June 2016 - feedback from WLP
30 Oct. 2016 - first draft of findings
30 Nov. 2016 - feedback from WLP
01 Feb. 2017 - Final Report; (07 Mar. 2017 - revisions if needed)
5. Terms of Contract
After a call for applications in the 11 countries concerned, WLP will identify the researcher to undertake each case study. The budget for all activities of this project is USD 5,000 per country case study, which will be allocated to the researcher who shall be charged with the use of the funds in accordance with internal work plan. The researcher will also organize, in collaboration with the WLP partner organization, a national workshop in which the researcher and experts in the field will analyze the results of the case study and make recommendations for a global campaign on law reform strategy.
First payment of USD 1,500 will be paid upon receipt of research design and work plan.
Second payment of USD 1,500 will be paid upon submission of first draft.
Final payment of the remaining USD 2,000 will be paid upon submission of satisfactory, and publishable final report.
6. Application Guidelines
Applicants must have a graduate degree in a related field, extensive research experience, and good drafting skills in English. Interested candidates should submit a CV, letter of interest, names of three professional references, and a writing sample in English to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 20, 2016.
For the purposes of this project the term “family law” is used in its broad sense to include civilcodes and any legislation that impacts on family structure, conjugal relations and women’s role and responsibilities.