Our Story

Driven by survivors and practitioners, operating through a decentralized regional working group structure, we have come together to advance a grassroots-up campaign for a new international norm on violence against women and girls.

Following two years of extensive research and discussion between women’s rights activists around the world, October 2014 marked the birth of The Everywoman Everywhere Coalition. This highly diverse coalition is driven by survivors and practitioners, with over 110 active working group members from more than 70 countries including every continent and major geographic area, operating with a decentralized, regional working group structure. While the work initially emerged from research with the Initiative on Violence Against Women at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights, the coalition-based campaign is structured from the grassroots up.

A Singular Goal

Building on hard-fought, world-changing victories of the international women’s movement, the Everywoman Everywhere Coalition has come together with a singular goal:Mobilization and execution of a global, grassroots-up campaign for a universal legal tool, such as a UN Convention or Additional Protocol, that empowers every woman and girl access to legal remedy should her rights to personal security be violated. The goal of such an instrument is to move violence against women and girls from soft law into a comprehensive, specific, legally binding instrument that establishes global minimal norms and standards to outlaw violence against women, with monitoring, evaluation, and implementation mechanisms, and clear structure for states to track progress.

Inclusion

The core platform will be developed through an extensive global consultative process. This approach reflects the coalitions’s foundational commitment to inclusion: We operate on the principle that an inclusive, participatory, rights-based approach focused on taking full advantage of on-the-ground expertise from practitioners, is essential for the efficacy of any treaty.

Our initial goals focus on engaging many voices and leaders, activists and survivors from around the world in active debate and full participation in this process, prior to public launch. Our aim is to maximize input from the grassroots, prior to engaging UN member states, selecting the legal instrument (regional treaties, UN Convention, or Additional Protocol), or announcing a core platform. This will ensure the most relevant treaty, providing the strongest possible support to survivors, while empowering and supporting women’s rights leaders around the world.

The Research

With a community of 35 research assistants and a global volunteer team, partnerships with 30 law clinics worldwide, we have undergone extensive policy & legal research to build the core platform. We continue to identify major gaps in the current legal framework, while identifying models for potential legislation, including progress and effectiveness of regional conventions, including Istanbul, Maputo, Belem do Para, ASEAN, and comparison of regional treaties to The UN Handbook on Legislation on Violence Against Women. We have established and maintained rigorous dialogue with drafters of these regional conventions and those involved in the implementation of CEDAW and the Istanbul Convention for ongoing input and to catalogue the geo-political perspectives on VAW. Further, we have analyzed the effectiveness of the Universal Periodic Review process and looked at successes and lessons learned from the National Action Planning process. Through the Harvard Kennedy School and Coalition partner organizations, we are currently developing a pilot consultation in Pakistan, to be completed in 2014.

Activism Meets Academia

This effort was initially catalyzed in 2012, when long-time grassroots women’s rights activists stumbled upon this massive gap in international law, while working with Harvard faculty Dr. Charlie Clements (veteran human rights activist who represented Physicians for Human Rights in the treaty signing and Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines) and Dr. John Ruggie (Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Business and Human Rights, proposed and developed both the UN Global Compact and Millennium Development Goals).

Shortly thereafter, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Rashida Manjoo’s urgent calls for a new legally binding norm propelled them into action. The Carr Center for Human Rights hosted an initial convening of women’s rights activists and scholars in June of 2013. A seed-phase working group was formed out of the initial convening, leading to an extended exploratory phase, from June 2013-October 2014.