Publication Thoolen NJCM-Dissertation Prize: Combating Sexism through Human Rights

Last year, Lucia van der Meulen was chosen as the winner of the Thoolen NJCM-Dissertation Prize 2019. In her dissertation she discussed the question: To what extent does European human rights law address subtle sexism and to what extent would further regulation of subtle sexism through human rights law be desirable? 

The full title of the dissertation is: ‘Combating Sexism through Human Rights: Present and potential protection in Europe’. In her dissertation Lucia van der Meulen deals with ‘subtle sexism’, a societal issue of great relevance and urgency. ‘Subtle sexism’ is a more modern kind of sexism, which harms are expected to be less evident and more contested than traditional sexism. This can be recognized in the non-discrimination case law of the CEDAW and the ECtHR, which do not identify sexism as the underlying cause and problem that should be addressed by human rights law.

Want to read more about ‘subtle sexism’ and European human rights law? The booklet can be purchased through NJCM’s secretariat ( for €10,00 for members and €12,50 for non-members.

See the Table of Contents for more information:

1. Concepts and manifestations of sexism
1.1 Concepts of sexism in social psychology
1.1.1 Measuring sexism: evolving approaches in the 1990s
1.1.2 Features of sexism today
1.1.3 Related ideas and concepts: what is not sexism?
1.2 Manifestations of sexism
1.2.1 At work
1.2.2 At home
1.2.3 In public
1.3 Conclusion
2. Sexism in a human rights framework
2.1 The non-discrimination approach
2.1.1 CEDAW
2.1.2 ECHR
2.1.3 ESC
2.1.4 Istanbul Convention
2.1.5 Conclusion
2.2 Sexist hate speech
2.2.1 CEDAW
2.2.2 ECHR
2.2.3 ESC
2.2.4 Conclusion
3. Towards further protection
3.1 To what extent does human rights law cover subtle sexism?
3.1.1 What is covered?
3.1.2 What is not covered?
3.2 To what extent is further human rights regulation of subtle sexism desirable?
3.2.1 Regulating subtle sexism
3.2.2 Regulating subtle sexism through the Council of Europe Recommendation?
3.2.3 Through sexist hate speech?
3.2.4 Conclusion
4. Conclusion
5. Bibliography
6. Appendix: Overview of the systematic case law analysis (last updated, June 2018)