IHRP celebrates International Women’s Day with Update of Key Women’s Rights Resource

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 8, 2012 - To celebrate International Women’s Day, the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law is pleased to announce key updates to the Women’s Human Rights Resources (WHRR) database on the Bora Laskin Law Library website. Due to the important work of volunteer law students, the WHRR database now includes key scholarly and UN materials current to 2011. Professor Rebecca Cook, a women’s rights pioneer and co-founder of the WHRR database was behind the push to update the WHRR: “This is such an important way for students to advance the field of women’s rights”

The WHRR database was co-founded and is maintained by Susan Barker, a law librarian, and is the only resource of its kind in the world; it provides annotations for key UN documents and leading scholarly articles on a range of topics from economic globalization to reproductive rights to armed conflict. Since its creation in 1995, the WHRR database has become a crucial tool for human rights defenders across the globe who use it to access cutting-edge academic research that was previously confined to law libraries that are often inaccessible to women in the Global South. The WHRR database receives over 15,000 hits per month, a figure that is expected to increase with the recent additions.

Sylvie and Nita
Second-year J.D. students Nita Khare and Sylvie McCallum Rougerie

Second-year J.D. students Nita Khare and Sylvie McCallum Rougerie led a small group of first-year students who spent over seven months updating the database. “This project is an amazing opportunity for otherwise inexperienced students to make a concrete and valuable contribution to women’s rights”, said Khare. “We are very excited to see how this project will continue to assist advocates”, adds Rougerie. ‘It means a lot to know that our small contributions can make a big difference down the line.”

Since the database was last updated over five years ago, the field of women’s rights has seen key advancements in terms of recognition of rape as a weapon of war, expansion of States’ responsibility to protect women from violence, and increased focus on economic empowerment of women.

For more information on the Women’s Human Rights Resources database or to recommend articles for inclusion in the database, please email: ihrp.law@utoronto.ca.