At a glance

Gender Equality Strategy

Strategic Objectives

Gender Equality Programme



Equal Access of Women to Justice

Persisting inequalities between women and men, gender bias and stereotypes also result in unequal access of women and men to justice. A study into women's access to the European Court of Human Rights drew attentation to the low number of applications filed by women, pointing out that this possibily reflects obstacles experienced by women at national level. Reasons advanced include lack of awareness, confidence and resources, gender bias and cultural, social and economic barriers. These barriers are particularly important in the case of women victims of violence or in situations of vulnerability, such as women vitims of various forms of discrimination.


Conference “Towards guaranteeing equal access of women to justice” (15-16 October 2015, Bern, Switzerland)

Bern The Swiss Federal Office for Gender Equality and the Council of Europe Gender Equality Commission are organising this event in 2015. Please block the dates in your diaries and check regularly the Council of Europe’s website for further information (www.coe.int/equality)

Women’s limited access to justice is a complex social phenomenon that combines a series of inequalities at the legal, institutional, structural, socio-economic and cultural levels. Ensuring access to justice implies providing women of all backgrounds with access to fair, affordable, accountable and effective remedies so that women and men can enjoy both equal rights and equal chances to assert them. The concept of access to justice covers contact with, entry to and use of the legal system. It is more than simply ensuring the efficiency of justice systems. It is about ensuring the sensitivity and responsiveness of such systems to the needs and realities of women, as well as empowering them throughout the justice chain. Reducing the impact of obstacles faced by women not only facilitates greater accessibility, but is also an essential step towards achieving substantive gender equality.

This Conference is the third in a series of three events on women’s access to justice organised by the Gender Equality Commission of the Council of Europe. The first event, in December 2013, focused on the access to justice of women victims of violence (www.coe.int/equality-Paris2013). The second event, in June 2014, focused on the gaps in research and data regarding women’s access to justice (www.coe.int/equality-Paris2014). The third event will take account the results of the first two meetings and will focus on the measures needed to address persistent barriers to women’s equal access to justice, including through the work of member states, international and regional organisations, as well and non-governmental organisations (website under construction).  


Seminar “Tackling the gaps in research and the lack of data disaggregated by sex concerning women’s equal access to justice” Paris, 26-27 June 2014 


Hearing “Access to Justice for Women Victims of Violence” Paris, 9 December 2013 

Council of Europe Documents 

Other Documents