Gender Injustice: Historical Development and Contemporary Challenges in European Human Rights Law


Gender justice remains elusive in Europe. Though much ground has been won in the field of equality, gender norms remain a source of injustice in all spheres of life. Gender justice broadly signifies that nobody is expected to carry higher burdens or enjoy lesser benefits due to gender. Human rights law, particularly equality law, has been the foremost legal mechanism to realize gender justice in Europe.

Several lacunae in the existing scholarship inhibit its potential to elucidate human rights law and address the gender justice deficit. These concern: lack of historical analysis in legal research; insufficient comparative knowledge of the relevant Council of Europe and EU instruments; and too narrow a focus on equality at the expense of a more holistic concept of gender justice with distribution, recognition and participation elements. Addressing these gaps, the project focuses on two questions: How has European human rights law conceptualized and historically developed gender justice? What are the shortcomings of European human rights law and how can these be addressed so as to advance gender justice?

The project comprises four parts. First, it will outline the conceptual framework, centering on the concepts of ‘gender’ and ‘gender justice’. Second, it will trace historical conceptions of gender justice through the drafting of European human rights treaties and EU law. Third, it will analyze the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the EU, as well as the European Committee of Social Rights’ decisions, and Istanbul Convention monitoring body reports. Fourth, it will conclude by identifying the shortcomings of the current legal framework and suggesting good practices in legal reasoning.

Inventively integrating historical and comparative human rights law analysis, combined with in-depth conceptual analysis, the project confronts the gender justice deficit that has persistently plagued Europe.





Mr. dr. A.S.H. Timmer

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Utrecht, Faculteit Recht, Economie, Bestuur en Organisatie, Departement Rechtsgeleerdheid


Mr. dr. A.S.H. Timmer


15/02/2018 tot 31/12/2021