LSJ León: Intersectional Approaches to Human Rights Law


Inclusion has become a central organizing principle for advancing human rights and development. Under the motto "Leave no one behind," the 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development included gender equality as a key goal (SDG 5) and specifically obligated the international community to ensure that "children, youth, persons with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, older persons, indigenous peoples, refugees and internally displaced persons and migrants," and other historically marginalized groups are included in the implementation of all of the Sustainable Development Goals. International human rights instruments have also made significant progress in advancing the right to inclusion. The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging have all created new obligations for states to promote an inclusive society.

Spain represents an important context for applying an intersectional approach to human rights and development. As a European Union member state, it is States Party to the EU Gender Equality Strategy, EU Framework on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the EU Charter of Human Rights, which specifically "recognises and respects the rights of the elderly." But, as a distinct sociopolitical context, it has struggled with gender, disability, and age inclusion. During the Francoist dictatorship (1939-1975), Spain implemented severe restrictions on women's rights, a policy now celebrated by Spain's far-right political groups, who want to revive Spain's "traditional past." In 2019, Spain's Central Electoral Board, which coordinates national elections, issued a directive that allows local poll workers to deem persons with disabilities as "unfit to vote" and deny them newly won political rights. And, as one of the "oldest" countries in Europe, Spain now has more senior citizens than children, yet has done little to meet older persons' needs. Through three five-credit courses (Social exclusion in global and local perspectives; Intersectional approaches to international law; and a Sociolegal Applied Research Clinic); field trips to Geneva, Switzerland to meet with United Nations agencies (OHCHR, WHO, and ILO, etc.) and to Madrid, Spain to meet with government ministries and national advocacy organizations, and by working with Leon's civil society, we will explore the difference international human rights, EU law, and national legislation have and have not made in the lives of women and girls, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens, and other intersecting identities in León.

Information Sessions:

  • Typically held during spring and summer

Program Director:

  • Megan McCloskey

Program Cost:

  • $7,960

Application deadline: 

  • October 8, 2021


  • 18 credits (3-credit foreign language study included)
Program Status