DE SOTO, Kansas — Communities without laws protecting against gender discrimination face greater economic struggles. When poverty-stricken communities enforce patriarchal ideologies, women become oppressed and often face violence. Actor George Clooney, along with his wife Amal Clooney, has developed an organization dedicated to protecting the rights of those living in struggling countries. By educating women on basic human rights while also pursuing judicial activism, the Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ) is empowering women facing social and ethnic disparities.
One in three women worldwide are victims of violent crimes. No current legislation focuses entirely on protecting women from discriminatory violence. This is an issue as oppression and sexual inequality impact women more so than men. This is even more prominent in areas with high poverty rates. Of all cases of domestic violence, only .9% are convicted in Nigeria.
It is because of this that the CFJ empowers women through the TrialWatch initiative, which closely monitors trials involving women. TrialWatch monitors criminal trials in over 40 different countries. The purpose of this program is to find out when individuals are wrongly convicted or tried unfairly. By knowing this, CFJ is able to provide the support needed for an appeal. This initiative currently focuses on women in Africa enduring violent crimes by offering them free legal aid. The program’s purpose is not only to aid women impacted by gender-based discrimination but also to hold individuals liable for committing crimes.
Waging Justice for Women
The Clooney Foundation empowers women not only through monitoring the courtrooms across the world but also to protect women through legislation. CFJ is currently partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund research on laws and regulations that negatively impact women. Upon gathering this information, CFJ can develop advocacy programs designated to fighting these regulations and in turn, know how to better aid women in developing countries. This is crucial as only 5% of justice funding goes towards combating gender-based discrimination, CFJ reported on its website.
An example of this is a policy that Tanzania developed that banned pregnant or married girls from attending school. In an area where child marriage is prominent, prohibiting young girls from getting an education only furthers gender oppression against women. CFJ, alongside the Equality Now organization, challenged Tanzania’s legislation before the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2021. Since then, Tanzania has overturned its ban, allowing young mothers to return to school. CFJ’s push towards eliminating legislation that harms women paved the way for young girls to be able to finish school, promoting their future success.
The Clooney Foundation empowers women through legal and administrative programs. By providing legal aid, women are more inclined to press charges when they endure violent crimes. In doing so, there is hope that crimes against women will decrease. CFJ’s plan of action to reform legislation put in place to oppress women will not only allow young moms to return to school but also promote greater financial stability by ensuring women achieve a greater education.
– Micaela Carrillo