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October 20 2008

Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Industrial & Labor Relations, and the Law and Society Minor present

"Women's Autonomy and Religious Patriarchy - Tales from Supreme Courts"

Frances Raday
Elias Lieberman Chair for Labour Law, Hebrew University

Date: October 20
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Location: 391 Uris Hall

Each of the monotheistic religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - restricts women's autonomy.  The lecture will deal with the ways in which women perceived and formulated their claims to constitutional protection for their human rights as regards these restrictions, in petitions to Supreme Courts in North America, Israel and the UK. The issues raised are freedom of abortion, equality in religious ritual and the right to wear religious covering in public school. The research analyzes the way in which the courts have balanced women's right to equality, freedom of conscience or religion and human dignity as against the claim of religions to impose patriarchal norms on women believers or non-believers.

The lecturer measures the judicial decisions as against a theory of hierarchy, in international human rights and constitutional law, which accords deference to women's right to equality when it is violated by religious norms.

Frances Raday is Director of the Concord Research Institute for Integration of International Law in Israel at the College of Management, Visiting Professor at University College London, and Elias Lieberman Chair in Labour Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Emerita). The University of Copenhagen has nominated her for an honorary doctorate.

Her writings in English include Culture, Religion and Gender; CEDAW'S Substantive Equality and it's Ideological Challengers; Culture, Religion and CEDAW's Article 5(a); Claiming Equal Religious Personhood - Women of the Wall`s Constitutional Saga; Religion, Multiculturalism and Equality - The Israeli Case; Israeli Labor Law, in ABA  International Labor and Employment Laws; The Insider-Outsider Politics of Labour-Only Contracting; The Costs of Dismissal - An Analysis in Community Justice and Efficiency; Constitutionalisation of Labour Law?; Privatising Human Rights and the Abuse of Power; Self-Determination and Minority Rights - Israel and Palestine. She is chief editor and contributing author of the leading textbook on feminist legal theory and development in Israel, Women's Status in Law and Society (Hebrew).

Professor Raday has held an appointment as Expert Member of the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. She has held academic appointments at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, University of East Africa, University of Southern California, University of Tulane and the University of Copenhagen. She has chaired the Academic Committee of the Minerva Center for Human Rights,  the Hebrew University's Lafer Center for Women's Studies and the Israeli Association of Feminist and Gender Studies and has been Chief Editor of the Israel Law Review.

As a human rights litigator, Frances Raday was the founding chair of the Legal Centre of the Israel Women's Network. She  has appeared as counsel before the High Court of Justice in precedent-setting labour law, human rights and discrimination cases.