International Women’s Rights Project (IWRP)

Summary of Activities:

The International Women’s Rights Project (IWRP or “the project”) came to the Centre in 1999 with a focus on a ten-country pilot impact study of the united Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), under the leadership of Marilou McPhedran as the project director, with the guidance of the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), UNIFEM, and other members of an International Advisory Committee of CEDAW experts.  The founding principal for the IWRP is to facilitate partnerships with women’s NGO’s in qualitative and quantitative research in order to support activism in women’s human rights.  The IWRP website is linked to the Centre for Feminist Research, providing information about the IWRP initiatives and a bibliography specific to CEDAW.

To help more women cut through computer jargon and reap the benefits of computer technology and the Internet tools for communication and the exchange of ideas, York’s International Women’s Rights Project in coordination with York’s Centre for Feminist Research, produced a how-to-guide, “The Busy Woman’s Guide to the Internet: Activism and Research On-Line” by Kelly Mannix.  This was launched at the Electric Bean CyberCafe with Internet demonstration’s and on-line instruction.  The guide also includes extensive appendices including: A Glossary of Internet terms (such as: What is an Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line?) and a Woman’s Human Rights On-Line Site Directory, and has been selling well.

The IWRP’s newest initiatives have been to forge links between York’s University Centre for feminist Research and women’s groups in Ukraine and Afghanistan.  The focus of the Canadian-Ukraine partnership is to both share and create legal and political advocacy resources in order to support efforts of women’s NGOs in the Ukraine towards participating more fully in democratization.

The Maytree Foundation has given its support to the IWRP partnership with the Afghan Woman’s Organization and a network of Canadian Coalition in Support of Afghan Women.  The IWRP website is home to the web pages dedicated to this pressing struggle for women’s most fundamental rights.