Tag Archives: Human Rights

CFP: Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights

Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights

Deadline:  July 1, 2011

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at The University of Texas School of Law extends a call for papers for the Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights.  The $1,000 prize will be awarded to the winner of an interdisciplinary writing competition on international human rights and women.  The prize honors the work of Audre Rapoport, who has spent many hours dedicated to the advancement of women in the United States and internationally, particularly on issues of reproductive health.  It is also meant to further the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center’s mission to build a multidisciplinary community engaged in the study and practice of human rights that promotes the economic and political enfranchisement of marginalized individuals and groups both locally and globally.  Previous winning papers can be viewed on our website.

TOPIC:  The scope of the topic is broad.  We welcome papers, from any discipline, that address gender and human rights from an international, transnational, or comparative perspective.  The selection committee will be multidisciplinary and international, comprising faculty from areas such as law, anthropology, literature, and government.

ELIGIBILITY:  To be eligible, an author must either be an enrolled student or have graduated from a university within the past year.

FORMAT:  Papers should be between 8,000 and 15,000 words and must be in English.  The word limit includes footnotes, endnotes, and appendices.  The submission must consist of original work, and authors must have rights to the content and be willing to publish the paper on the Center’s website.  If the paper has not been published elsewhere, the paper may also be considered for publication in the Rapoport Center’s Working Paper Series.  All submissions must be accompanied by an abstract of 100 to 250 words and must be submitted in .rtf, .doc or .docx format (no .zip files will be accepted).

JUDGMENT CRITERIA:  A panel of multidisciplinary and international faculty and professionals from fields such as law, government, anthropology and literature will judge the papers.  Last year’s committee included Helena Alviar (Associate Professor & Director of the Doctorate and Master’s in Law Programs, Universidad de Los Andes), Hilary Charlesworth (Professor, Australian National University College of Law), and Cecilia Medina (immediate past-president, Inter-American Court of Human Rights). Relevant judgment factors include the strength and logic of the argument, depth of the analysis, originality and importance of intervention in the field, thoroughness and soundness of the research, quality of writing (clarity and organization), and formatting and citations.

PRIZE:  The winner will receive a $1,000 prize.  The winning paper will be published on the Center’s website.   If the winning paper has not been published elsewhere, it will also be published in the Rapoport Center’s Working Paper Series.   A second-place prize might also be awarded, including consideration for publication in the Rapoport Center’s Working Paper Series.
DEADLINE:  Papers, abstracts and author’s full contact details should be submitted by July 1, 2011, and should be sent via email to HumanRights@law.utexas.edu.  Please include “Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights” in the subject line.  The winners will be notified by early September.

QUESTIONS?  Please contact the Rapoport Center Administrator, William Chandler, at wchandler@law.utexas.edu.

Family Status (transl: kids) and Work-Life Balance: The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Weighs In

Here’s some victory news for your Monday morning – Johnstone and Canadian Border Services (August 6,2010).  Link to the decision at the very bottom of this post and press release from PSAC, Ms. Johnstone’s union, below (I’m amused by PSAC’s choice of headline – were they being ironic, or are we going to try to recapture that language?).

The decision makes good reading, since it illustrates the variety of systems which have failed to adjust to Canadian realities in terms of demographics (we need more workers!) and family economics (two incomes are the norm). There’s also an extensive discussion around the employer’s contention that childcare responsibilities are a “choice” unlike , e.g., medical conditions or religious practice (both of which are accommodated by the employer). Experts were called in and their testimony is well worth a look (around employer policies on “work life balance” and the availability of child care).

It's a glamorous life! And does she REALLY iron? Or, as one of my kids asked me the other week, peering up to the high shelf where the iron lives, "what is THAT for?".

I had some of my own questions too – in this case the claimant and her spouse were both border services agents, and there isn’t much discussion of why she is bringing the case (it’s clear that his position was higher up the ranks than hers, and it’s also related to the issue of “returning to work” after giving birth to a child).  But there isn’t much discussion of this kind of discrimination falling mainly on women (although you see it clearly in the expert testimony, and in the discussion of the employer’s attention to the issue).

Anyway, it’s a victory, just a limited one. It’s not a solution to work/life balance.  It’s a way to keep seniority and pensions (which Ms. Johnstone would have lost if she went to the part time work her employer suggested).

One of my favourite parts of the decision was when the CBSA (canadian border services agency) suggested that Ms. Johnstone had not been diligent in seeking childcare arrangements which could accommodate shifting schedules, mandatory overtime, and overnight shifts.  I wish I knew what they meant. Finding childcare to  accommodate any schedule (let alone budget) is not easy.  Perhaps we should  all contact CBSA to find out more about this secret awesome childcare option!   I kind of suspect that it is Stay at Home moms, but they tend to only offer this to their own children….  FYI: Ms. Johnstone’s partner is also a Border Services officer and they indicated they didn’t have a home which could accomodate a “nanny,” nor did they have the money for that option. [See around para 18]

Here’s the PSAC Press Release.

Human Rights Tribunal Defends Family Values

Decision supports freedom of Canadians to be parents without discrimination

OTTAWA, Aug. 6 /CNW Telbec/ – In a groundbreaking decision today, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that employers cannot discriminate against their employees should they choose to become parents. Fiona Johnstone, a Canadian Border Services Officer and a member of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, convinced the Tribunal that she was a victim of discrimination based on family status.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) refused to accommodate her request for more regular hours so she could arrange for proper child care. The CBSA told her that the only way that she could care for her kids was to work part time. Fiona Johnstone was unable to obtain child care because she and her husband both worked rotating shift schedules at Pearson International Airport.

The Tribunal found that the conduct of the CBSA was willful and reckless in depriving Mrs. Johnstone of her employment opportunities. The Tribunal ordered the CBSA to pay Mrs. Johnstone for lost wages and pension benefits, as well as damages totaling $35,000.

“This is a victory for all working Canadian parents who want to give their children the care they need and at the same time progress in their careers,” said John Gordon, President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. “Employers have the obligation to find workable solutions on a case-by-case basis so that workers like Fiona Johnstone can balance work and family.”

The Tribunal criticised the CBSA for maintaining systemic policies and practices that deprived Mrs. Johnstone and other similar individuals of employment opportunities due to their family status. As a result, the Tribunal ordered the CBSA to develop a plan to prevent further incidents of discrimination based on family status and develop policies to address family status accommodation requests.

“I am happy and relieved by the decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal,” said Fiona Johnstone. “I can now move on with my career and with raising my family.”

In 2004, Fiona Johnstone filed a complaint against the CBSA arguing that its policy violates the Canadian Human Rights Act by discriminating against her based on her family status. While not every childcare need gives rise to an employer obligation to accommodate, Johnstone argued that her complicated and unpredictable schedule made it impossible to care for her children. She said that the employer had not proven that accommodating her with a more suitable shift would amount to undue hardship.

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision – click here.