Women in Russia and Turkey face pervasive discrimination. Only a small percentage dare to challenge their mistreatment in court. Facing domestic police and judges who often refuse to recognize discrimination, a tiny minority of activists have exhausted their domestic appeals and then turned to their last hope: the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Despite the tens of thousands of Russian cases submitted to the ECtHR in the last 20 years, until July 2019, only one Russian case had resulted in a finding of gender discrimination – and that case was brought by a man. In contrast, the ECtHR has ruled in favor of a number of Turkish women who brought important gender discrimination cases to the Court. This talk explores the obstacles that confront those who try to use domestic and international law to fight gender discrimination in Russia and Turkey, and sheds light on the factors that make legal victories possible both at home and abroad.
Valerie Sperling is a professor of political science at Clark University
Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom is an associate professor of political science at the University of British Columbia.
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