This module is a resource for lecturers   


Guidelines to develop a stand-alone course


This Module provides an outline for a three-hour class, but there is potential to develop the topic further into a stand-alone course. The scope of such a course will be determined by the specific needs of each context, but a possible structure is presented here as a suggestion.



Brief description

Week 1


  • Introduction of the Module themes and assessment methodology. Explore student familiarity with sexual and gender-based violence. Go through the definition of essential concepts.
  • Deliver Exercise 1.

Week 2

What is discrimination

  • Illustrate that discrimination underpins violence against women and girls.
  • Present the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (GA Resolution 34/180), Article 1, the definition of discrimination (Slide 8).
  • Present a mini-lecture using the PowerPoint presentation provided.
  • Remind the class that General Recommendation 19 in 1992 identified violence against women as a form of discrimination. This General Recommendation was updated by General Recommendation 35 in 2017, and is referred to in the section Advanced Reading.
  • CEDAW Article 2 (GA Resolution 34/180) which establishes the legal duties that States accept in ratifying the convention, to condemn discrimination and take all appropriate steps without delay steps to address discrimination against women (Slide 9). It might be useful to pause at this point and ask the class to reflect on whether they see evidence of such action in their own State, that the government takes these actions. Article 2 requires States to refrain from discriminating in its own actions, but also to take action to ensure that others do not discriminate - specifically, (Slide 10) the State must take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination by any person, organization or enterprise - that is, businesses, schools, local authorities. At this point, the lecturer can elicit examples from the class about "persons, organizations or enterprises" that discriminate against women. Who are the persons, organizations and enterprises which discriminate? What is the State doing to ensure that theses persons, organizations or enterprises do not discriminate against women? If the State is not taking action to ensure an end to discrimination against women, why not?
  • Watch: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, "We should all be feminists" 12 April 2013, Tedtalk [29:30 minutes].
  • Deliver Exercise 2.

Week 3

Forms of Violence against Women and Girls

  • Deliver Exercises 2 and 3 (both of which involve mini lecture and discussion). At a conceptual level, students should be reminded of the following:
    • Violence against women and girls can never be justified
    • Violence against women is not inevitable - States can take action to stigmatize the use of violence, provide meaningful sanctions for perpetrators, and provide reparation to survivors: communities, families and individuals can also stigmatize the use of violence, support survivors and undertake their daily lives in ways that make women and girls equal to boys and men in the enjoyment of their human rights.

Week 4

The International Human Rights Framework

  • Deliver a lecture based on the materials presented in Topic 2.
  • International human rights law requires discrimination on the grounds of all kinds of differences - gender, sexual orientation, race, religion - be eradicated and individuals work together to secure a better world. The current global policy framework is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - which focuses on the well-being of people, the planet, for peace and prosperity, a vision which is consistent with and builds on the requirements of international human rights law.
  • Students should be familiar with United Nations General Assembly Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (GA Resolution 48/104), and General Recommendation 19 (1992) and 35 (2017) from the CEDAW Committee, as well as the Beijing Platform for Action and the Convention on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (GA Resolution 34/180).

Week 5

Legal Protections, and Access to Justice for Women and Girls

  • Deliver a lecture based on the materials presented in Topic 3 - Prosecuting domestic violence and sexual violence - a human rights approach.
  • Engage students in an analysis and discussion of Case Study 1. Invite students to apply the legal framework, that they had learned in the previous class - to the facts of the case.

Week 6

Local, Regional and Global Measures to Address Violence against Women and Girls

  • Deliver a lecture based on the materials presented in Topic 5.
  • Provide a summary of African, American and European frameworks for the protection of women and girls from SGBV (See Slides 28-34 for a brief excerpt of the three regional treaties). Note how their aims are very similar, even despite the diversity across the three continents.
  • Deliver Exercise 6.

Week 7

What About Men

Week 8

Course wrap-up and strengths-based approach to achieve change

  • Invite a representative from a service that provides advocacy or services for women and girls. Foster a strengths-based discussion, and strategy, about the role of individuals as change makers.
  • Deliver Exercise 7.
  • Deliver Exercise 8.

Lecturers who wish to extend the course further could make more extensive use of the case law embedded within the Module. Further information on the gendered dimensions of access to justice is available in Module 9 on Gender in the Criminal Justice System, and Module 11 on Justice for Victims.

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