UCI Law International Justice Clinic Successfully Urges L.A. County to Implement Global Treaty on Gender Justice


Since 2019, Prof. Mary Hansel and her students in the UCI Law International Justice Clinic  (IJC) have advocated for Los Angeles County to pass a measure implementing the United Nations Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW is the core international human rights treaty for intersectional gender justice and has been ratified by all but six countries — including the United States. In response to the U.S.’s failure to ratify the treaty, grassroots advocates have focused on passing local CEDAW measures and a Cities for CEDAW movement has emerged. The local measures, to date, have brought about remarkable strides in gender justice and helped promote human rights awareness.

After nearly three years of IJC advocacy, Los Angeles County recently passed a binding ordinance implementing CEDAW. The ordinance provides that CEDAW “must be integrated in the County’s role as an employer, service provider, and community and business partner, and must apply to women and girls of all identities and categories.” It explicitly addresses gender justice in the areas of economic development, education, housing and homelessness, gender-based violence, healthcare, criminal justice and voting rights. L.A. County has already started conducting a gender impact assessment to take stock of how it can align its activities with the ordinance and further promote gender justice. IJC is hopeful that this ordinance will improve the lives of the 10 million residents located in L.A. County.

Prof. Hansel has been invited to join the National Cities for CEDAW Advisory Committee. As a Committee member, she looks forward to facilitating the implementation of CEDAW in local jurisdictions across the country.