The International Models Project on Women’s Rights Unveils Prototype of Impowr Wiki in Wake of International Women’s Day

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The International Models Project on Women’s Rights, established by the American Bar Association, is creating a comprehensive and collaborative online database of information on gender-equality law reform efforts around the world. Today the first prototype for this comprehensive Web site tool will be unveiled at demo.impowr.org.

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Millions of women around the globe remain vulnerable to violence, poverty and ill health because the justice system where they live does not protect them.

The International Models Project on Women’s Rights, established by the American Bar Association, is creating a comprehensive and collaborative online database of information on gender-equality law reform efforts around the world. Today the first prototype for this comprehensive Web site tool will be unveiled at demo.impowr.org.

The prototype content focuses on reform laws and efforts on acid violence attacks against women in Bangladesh. When the database is ready to be launched later this year, it will include information on more than 100 countries and will be searchable by country, as well as specific topic areas that include: civic life, health care, marriage and family relations, economic and social life, crimes and violence, and access to justice. Wiki entries will be contributed by experts from around the world and will describe: the current state of law in each topic area; law reform projects that have been or should be undertaken in those areas; the role of law enforcement; as well as community traditions and history vis-à-vis the effectiveness of implementation of reforms.

By leveraging the power of the Internet and the collaborative nature of the wiki format, the project aims to help the global community of gender law experts, project leaders and stakeholders empower each other and become most effective through the exchange of information.

The IMPOWR wiki online tool will provide and facilitate the following:

  •     A comparison of gender-based law reform efforts on a country-by-country basis and/or an issue basis, as well as identification and comparison of successful methodologies and best practices;
  •     A repository of reliable information on which national decision makers, donors and practitioners can base gender law reform strategies;
  •     Collaboration among non-profits, governments and other entities working around the world to promote law reform on gender issues.

ABA Section of International Law Chair Glenn Hendrix commented, “IMPOWR is a great example of how the Internet can help mobilize worldwide resources to facilitate important local law reform on such important issues as women’s rights. By spreading knowledge and furthering women’s rights globally, IMPOWR has the potential to change lives as well as the law.”

IMPOWR will work with global experts, along with interested individuals and organizations, on the project design and content for the site. The site also will include access to the texts of pertinent laws through links to the Library of Congress Global Legal Information Network, as well as links to other useful Web sites and primary and secondary source documents including articles, books and project reports.

“Millions of women around the globe remain vulnerable to violence, poverty and ill health because the justice system where they live does not protect them,” lamented Carolyn Lamm, president of the ABA. "The IMPOWR project can make a critical difference in this effort by serving as a common platform for leveraging experience and fostering collaboration among experts from different countries. I encourage attorneys around the world in private practice, public service, non-profits, academia and international organizations to participate,” Lamm concluded.

IMPOWR was initiated in 2008 to support project leaders and stakeholders implementing the 1980 Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and the 2005 Paris Declaration. It is currently working with law schools to collect substantive material and for assistance in preparing content in advance of the formal launch. IMPOWR intends to launch the fully functional site in August 2010. The project welcomes the participation of the gender law community and invites the submission of comments and inquiries to Christina Heid, at impowr (at) staff (dot) abanet (dot) org.

IMPOWR is funded by the ABA Enterprise Fund. It is cosponsored by the ABA Section of International Law; the ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law; the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession; and the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

For more information about IMPOWR, visit http://www.impowr.org.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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