UN Women

National Legal Consultant (A Comprehensive Assessment of Discriminatory Laws to Women's Economic Empowerment)

UN Women

Job Description

  Over 2.5 billion women and girls around the world are affected by discriminatory laws and the lack of legal protections, often in multiple ways. The spaces in which laws have been designed, implemented or even studied as a profession have historically excluded women and girls. As a result, their voices and perspectives continue to be largely absent from laws and legal practices. Discrimination in law is commonplace, including different standards for women and men in applying for identity documents choosing employment, transferring nationality to a child or foreign spouse, participating in court proceedings, receiving inheritance and deciding when and whom to marry. Laws that promote gender equality can yield multiple dividends: among other potential benefits, a law that enables women to inherit on an equal basis with men could empower mothers to invest in the education of their daughters. This mitigates early child marriage and promotes girl child retention in school. On the other hand, lower levels of gender equality in national laws are associated with fewer girls enrolled in primary and secondary education, fewer women in skilled work, fewer women owning land, fewer women accessing financial and health services and more women facing domestic, family and sexual violence. Law reform more broadly, and the repeal or revision of discriminatory laws specifically, are inherent to the achievement of gender equality a requirement for realizing the transformative ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as the African Union’s Agenda 2063. They are also among the specific commitments of States enshrined in relevant international conventions and United Nations standards and norms. Yet progress in eliminating discriminatory laws has been uneven. In many cases, global, regional and national sources of support have not been fully harnessed to accelerate reforms. Key propellers have included the monitoring role of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee),country visits of the United Nations Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, the policies of regional and interregional bodies, statements of political will from national governments, ongoing investments in analysis of laws from a gender perspective, continued education of the judiciary on domestic application of international law, judicial activism in striking down unconstitutional or discriminatory laws, the active engagement of civil society organizations (CSOs), campaigns to galvanize awareness and the collection of data to track specific aspects of discriminatory laws. Against this background, UN Women, the African Union, the Commonwealth, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Organization International de la Francophonie and Secretaría General Ibero-Americana have issued Equality in Law for Women and Girls by 2030: A Multi-stakeholder Strategy for Accelerated Action as a roadmap for the elimination of laws that discriminate against women and girls. The strategy presented in Equality in Law for Women and Girls focuses on the repeal or revision of discriminatory laws as an important part of a broader legal reform agenda that supports the achievement of gender equality. In this broader context, it seeks to ensure the elimination of all discriminatory legislation by 2030. Context of the Zimbabwe legal framework Zimbabwe is considered to have one of the most progressive Constitution in the East and Southern African region. Yet, women are experiencing severe discrimination in the country every day. One of the reasons for this is believed to be the slow adaption of laws to the Constitution. The current Constitution was adopted in 2013 and while work has been done to align national legislation with the Constitution, e.g. the Marriage Bill, the majority of the national legislation is not yet in line with the provisions on women’s rights in the Constitution. This could be perceived as a sign of lack of political will to prioritize these issues in the alignment of laws processes. Further, Zimbabwe has during the last few years experienced severe economic decline, political tension and natural disasters which has hampered the work on aligning national legislation with the Constitution. In addition to incomplete legislation, there are limitations to women’s abilities to harness their rights. In many parts of the country women are not aware of the rights that the Constitution is provides for them and are therefore not able to claim them. In cases where they are aware, several reasons may keep them from seeking justice and challenge a discriminatory and unconstitutional decision, treatment or law. The legal process to challenge these things is cumbersome and long and constitutes a financial burden on the claimant, not only for the obvious costs of legal representation but also for indirect costs such as travel and loss of income. Finally, the trust in judicial services is generally low in Zimbabwe causing many people to turn to traditional means of conflict solving – means which often do not apply the Constitution or any national legislation. This customary legal system further tends to fall short in its considerations for gender equality. In line with the above, UN Women Zimbabwe intends to conduct a comprehensive legislative analysis from a gender perspective to provide an in-depth understanding of the current legal framework, including customary law, and the existence of gaps and discriminatory provisions, with the long-term vision of advocating for law reform to enact new laws or repeal or revise discriminatory legislation and customs. The gender analysis will explore the vast spectrum of laws to assess their gender responsiveness and will highlight discriminatory provisions and gaps that would require to be repeal, amended or enactment through a law reform process. Gender-sensitive legislation assumes “the integration of a gender perspective into all components of the legislative process—design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation to achieve the ultimate objective of equality between women and men. The legal analysis will look at discrimination in a broad sense – both on direct discrimination, namely, how the law explicitly treats women and men or girls and boys; and indirect discrimination that occurs when a law appears to be neutral on its face but has a discriminatory effect in practice on women because pre-existing inequalities are not addressed by the apparently neutral measure. The legal analysis will consist of a selective mapping of the national context for purposes of capturing all forms of legal frameworks (the constitution, statutes, legislative instruments, executive orders, administrative regulations, case law and other relevant and related government texts, as well as customary law) and not only those which reference gender, women or girls. The legal frameworks in question will cover all fields and sectors of law and will not be limited to legislation that is specifically related to women, girls or children. Each legal text will be pre-assessed, and a determination made as to how the provisions impact upon the achievement of gender equality. The legal analysis will draw from regional and international standards, such as the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol) and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). These include decisions on interpretations of the Maputo Protocol by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and the African Court on Human and People’s rights and the CEDAW Committee’s General Recommendation No. 28 on the Core Obligations of States Parties under Article 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Concluding observations from the CEDAW Committee, the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Periodic Review will also be taken in consideration. Quite recently in March of 2020, the CEDAW Committee issued the following Concluding Observations and Recommendations to the Government of Zimbabwe: “…the Committee is concerned by the long delays in amending legislation subsidiary to the Constitution and by the remaining discriminatory provisions in the legislative framework of the State party, including provisions on marriage and property rights and on the minimum age of marriage. 10. In the light of its general recommendation No. 28 (2010) on the core obligations of States parties under article 2 of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State party amend or repeal, without delay, all remaining sex-discriminatory provisions, including those on marriage and property rights and on the legal minimum age of marriage, with a view to bringing them into compliance with the Constitution and the Convention. 11. The Committee notes that the Constitution contains references to the principle of non-discrimination and gender equality and a comprehensive bill of rights, including women’s rights. However, the Committee notes with concern the absence of a specific gender equality law enshrining the principle of equality of women and men and containing a definition and prohibition of all forms of discrimination against women, including direct and indirect discrimination in the public and private spheres, as well as intersecting forms of discrimination, in line with article 1 of the Convention. 12. The Committee recommends that the State party, in line with articles 1 and 2 of the Convention, adopt, without delay, a law on gender equality, covering all prohibited grounds of discrimination and encompassing direct and indirect discrimination in both the public and private spheres, as well as intersecting forms of discrimination against women. Legal status of the Convention 13. Although the Convention has been incorporated into the Constitution and some provisions of the Convention have been incorporated into legislation, the Committee remains concerned that the State party has not fully incorporated the Convention into its national law. The Committee also notes that the State party has not ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention.”[1] Using a rights-based approach, the above Concluding Observations and Recommendations of the Committee as well as those of other human rights treaty bodies and the Universal Periodic Review will serve as foundational entry points for this review. [1] See Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Zimbabwe, CEDAW/C/ZWE/CO/6, 10 March 2020
Duties and Responsibilities
Objective: UN Women Zimbabwe is thus looking to engage a legal consultant to undertake the following tasks:
  • Undertake a comprehensive analysis of the laws, including customary laws, in Zimbabwe from a gender perspective, beginning from the social, cultural, economic and political context, underpinning the current state of affairs;

  • To conduct stakeholder meetings and ensure that relevant feedback emanating from the consultation process is incorporated into the final version of the report;

Methodology and Scope of Work: Under the overall guidance and supervision of the Programme Specialist for Governance and co-supervision of The Rule of Law Advisor in UN Women HQ the consultant will undertake a comprehensive mapping of the legal landscape of Zimbabwe for purposes of capturing all forms of legal frameworks (the constitution, statutes, legislative instruments, executive orders, administrative regulations, case law and other relevant and related government legal frameworks). The legal texts in question must cover legislation that is specifically related to women and girls, as well as other fields and sectors. Each legal text will be analyzed to determine how their provisions impact upon the achievement of gender equality. The proposed desk review will be followed by a national consultation. The report outline will cover the following:
  1. The plural legal, political, social, economic and cultural context of Zimbabwe

  2. Zimbabwe’s commitments to global, regional and sub regional frameworks which advance gender equality;

  3. The extent to which these commitments have been translated into domestic law, identifiable gaps in the content of existing laws as well as implementation and the reasons for such gaps;

  4. An analysis of other sectoral laws and how these impact on the achievement of gender equality;

  5. An overview of the role that formal, informal and semi-formal courts have played in: (a) advancing gender equality; (b) reinforcing gender inequality or (c) both;

  6. In considering 1-5, the consultant will determine whether and how the laws in question explicitly treat women and men or girls and boys differently and/or indirectly based on being facially neutral on its face but discriminatory in effect due to pre-existing inequalities that are not addressed by the apparently neutral measure.

  7. Following the above narrative, the consultant will annex to the report, a table which encapsulates (1) the titles and dates of all the laws under investigation; (2) the sections which are explicitly or implicitly discriminatory; (3) gaps in the law; (4) the basis for arriving at these conclusions and (4) recommended actions to relevant stakeholders.

  8. The report should be guided by the Legal Analysis Checklist (Annex 1 attached)

Deliverables:
  • Conduct a legal analysis from a gender perspective of agreed sectors of national legislation.

  • Conduct consultation with key stakeholders to identify the sectoral laws for revision.

Timelines: The consultant will undertake the assignment in consultation with relevant government departments and ministries, Civil society organizations, and UN Women and will deliver on the following products over a period of 31 days between the period 13 July to 13 September 2020. Expected deliverables:
  1. Methodology developed and shared

  2. Draft an inception report for the analysis of legislation from a gender perspective

  3. Conduct consultations to identify sectoral laws

  4. Develop draft report on the legislation analysis from a gender perspective

  5. Facilitate a validation workshop to present legislation analysis findings

  6. Provide a final report and brief on the legislation analysis from a gender perspective

Competencies
Technical Competencies:
  • Experience in issues related to gender equality, legal reforms and ending violence against women

Functional Competencies:
  • Ability to pragmatically apply in-depth knowledge and experience of issues and practices in the fields of judiciary systems; legal reform; gender equality,

  • Strong skills and experience in presenting evidence and ideas for policy and programme.

  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude.

  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities.

  • Strong communications skills (written and oral)

Core Values:
  • Respect for Diversity;

  • Integrity;

  • Professionalism.

Core Competencies:
  • Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues;

  • Accountability;

  • Creative Problem Solving;

  • Effective Communication;

  • Inclusive Collaboration;

  • Stakeholder Engagement;

  • Leading by Example.

Required Skills and Experience The assignment is expected to be carried out by one independent expert or individual consultant. The expert can form a team to carry out the commission, however the contract will be made with the expert and overall responsibilities for the service will be upon the expert. The consultant needs to be independent in terms of using office spaces, equipment, utility and other logistics. UN Women facilities may not be available unless specified. Expected skills and experiences of the evaluation expert is mentioned below:-
  • Master’s degree in law. A PhD will be an added value;

  • At least 10 years’ experience on the legal landscape of Zimbabwe from a gender perspective and ability to undertake a gender analysis of national legislation and policy documents;

  • Proven knowledge of international practices, legislations and policies; and instruments, including violence against women; and/or the protection of human rights;

  • Experience in managing and facilitating high-level dialogues, round table discussions, consultations, with stakeholders at both grassroots and national levels;

  • Experience of working with CSOs initiatives and government;

  • Proven experience to collect, analyze and interpret complex qualitative and quantitative data;

  • Excellent command of English (written and oral) is required;

  • Previous professional experience with development agencies and the United Nations would be considered an asset.

Application procedure and deadline: Interested applicants must submit the following document/information (in PDF format) to demonstrate their qualifications:-
  • Letter of interest explaining why they are the most suitable for the work;

  • Technical proposal of no more than 3 pages outlining the applicants understanding of the issue to be addressed in the study and proposed methodology for the assignment, including stakeholders to be met;

  • Signed Curriculum vitae with contact details of 3 clients for whom you have rendered preferably similar services;

  • Sample work;

  • All applications must include (as an attachment) a completed UN Women Personal History form (P-11) which can be downloaded from http://www.unwomen.org/about-us/employment.

Only applications with all items mentioned above will be considered. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE PLATFORM ALLOWS FOR ONLY ONE ATTACHMENT SO COMBINE ALL DOCUMENTS AND UPLOAD THEM AS ONE. UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence. UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.
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