Global Resources

Gender, Minorities and Indigenous Peoples

Author: F. Banda, C. Chinkin
Publisher: Minority Rights Group
Publication Date: Aug 2004
Although both minority and indigenous men and women experience discrimination, it is minority and indigenous women who most suffer multiple discriminations and therefore have less access to education, health and other services and resources. They face discrimination because of their identification with the group and from those who view women as inferior. San women from the Northern Cape, for example, face high levels of violence from both state and non-state actors. Yet many organisations, reports and international human rights law focusing on minorities and indigenous peoples do not mention gender and use 'men' as the standard norm through which to view and address human experience. International laws on discrimination have failed until recently to take account of the fact that people's lives are shaped by multiple, interlocking identities. In one move to address this the United Nations Human Rights Committee now requires States to report on how they are meeting their responsibilities in relation to cultural or religious practices within minority or indigenous communities that affect the rights of women. However, all organisations and institutions working on minority and indigenous rights need to integrate a gender perspective and those working on women's rights need to better involve minorities and indigenous peoples in their work
Although both minority and indigenous men and women experience discrimination, it is minority and indigenous women who most suffer multiple discriminations and therefore have less access to education, health and other services and resources. They face discrimination because of their identification with the group and from those who view women as inferior. San women from the Northern Cape, for example, face high levels of violence from both state and non-state actors. Yet many organisations, reports and international human rights law focusing on minorities and indigenous peoples do not mention gender and use 'men' as the standard norm through which to view and address human experience. International laws on discrimination have failed until recently to take account of the fact that people's lives are shaped by multiple, interlocking identities. In one move to address this the United Nations Human Rights Committee now requires States to report on how they are meeting their responsibilities in relation to cultural or religious practices within minority or indigenous communities that affect the rights of women. However, all organisations and institutions working on minority and indigenous rights need to integrate a gender perspective and those working on women's rights need to better involve minorities and indigenous peoples in their work