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Women's Health and the Limits of Law

Domestic and International Perspectives

Irehobhude O. Iyioha, ed.


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Despite some significant advances in the creation and protection of rights affecting women’s health, these do not always translate into actual health benefits for women. This collection asks: 'What is an effective law and what influences law’s effectiveness or ineffectiveness? What dynamics, elements, and conditions come together to limit law’s capacity to achieve instrumental goals for women’s health and the advancement of women’s health rights?' 


The book presents an integrated, co-referential and sustained critical discussion of the normative and constitutive reasons for law’s limited effectiveness in the field of women’s health. It offers comprehensive and cohesive explanatory accounts of law’s limits and for the first time in the field, introduces a distinction between formal and substantive effectiveness of laws. Its approach is trans-systemic, multi-jurisdictional and comparative, with a focus on six countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa and international human rights case law based on matters arising from Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Peru and Bolivia.


The book will be a valuable resource for educators, students, lawyers, rights advocates and policymakers working in women’s health, socio-legal studies, human rights, feminist legal studies, and legal philosophy more broadly.



'The authors of this edited volume are to be congratulated for insightfully addressing the complex challenges of translating well-intended laws and policies on women’s health into effective outcomes.'

Rebecca J. Cook, Professor of Law Emerita,

University of Toronto, Canada

'Women’s Health and the Limits of Law: Domestic and International Perspectives is an important book. Dr. Iyioha (ed.) and the book’s contributors provide a critical analysis of the promise of, and limits to, the role of law in furthering women’s health. This thoughtful and provocative book will be of interest to scholars, policy-makers, and advocates who are concerned with women’s health, human rights, feminist jurisprudence, intersectionality, and global perspectives on health.'

—Mary Anne Bobinski, Professor and Dean,

School of Law, Emory University, USA

'This edited collection is timely, original and a true interdisciplinary contribution. The whole collection is structured on a strong, common theoretical foundation that provides a novel lens through which to view and understand the deeply entrenched debates within feminism regarding culture, gender, and legal orders around the globe. This book contains a broad range of topics and perspectives on a wide variety of subjects related to women’s health, and brings together a diverse and accomplished group of scholars to address empirical, political, legal and cultural aspects of women’s health in a global context. It will add to the scholarly debates within legal theory, feminism, health law and ethics, and will be of interest to students, researchers, academics and law-makers around the globe.'

—Dr. Angela Cameron, Associate Professor,

Sheryl Greenberg Chair of Women and the Legal Profession, Faculty of Law,

University of Ottawa, Canada

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