We’ve had a great week writing about women’s rights to celebrate International Women’s Day 2016. But don’t worry, our writing on this topic is not going away! As women’s rights are human rights we’ve been writing about them since day 1. Take a look at our pick of the top 5 women’s rights cases we’ve covered in the past year.
The One Which Said Women Can’t Be Forced to Take Their Husband’s Name
Remember Mrs. Tekeli the Turkish trainee lawyer? Remember how Turkish law forbid her from using her maiden name on official documents and said she had to use her husband’s? We do. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said this requirement was discriminatory because only men could use their own family name after marriage. It also violated Mrs. Tekeli’s right to a private life. This case means that across Europe, women (and men) must be allowed to use their family name on official documents, whenever they like.
The One Which Made Sure That Female Immigrants Get the Same Protection as Male Immigrants
It seems a world away now, but in 1985 the UK immigration rules meant it was more difficult for working wives to get their husbands to join them in the UK than it was for working husbands who wanted their wives to join them. The Government justified this inequality on the basis of ‘advancing public tranquillity’. The ECHR found that the rules discriminated against women and violated their right to private lives.
A husband who raped his wife tried to rely on an old English law saying that a husband could not rape his wife because she had given her consent to having sex with him when she married him, and that consent could not be revoked. Both the English and European courts said that that law could not stand. Rape was so debasing that the husband should have known what he was doing was wrong.
The case brought by Jeanette Smith and Graham Grady when they were dismissed from the Royal Air Force for being gay marked an upward turning point for gay rights in the UK. The ECHR said the Government’s argument that homosexuality damaged morale did not hold. Jeanette and Graham’s right to private life had been violated. Crucially, the Armed Forces then withdrew the long-standing ban on gay people serving in the army. This was a great step forward for gay women (and gay men) in the UK.
And One More…
The One Where The Courts Lifted a Huge Barrier against Domestic Violence Victims getting Legal Aid
We really love this one! Fantastic campaign group Rights of Women challenged the requirements for access to legal aid for victims of domestic violence. These requirements meant that many women were not getting the help they needed, and for no good reason. The English Court of Appeal declared the requirements unlawful and now many more vulnerable people will have access to a lawyer when they need one.
As the week draws to a close, make sure you have done your bit for women’s rights in 2016 by #PledgingforParity now.