Accepted paper:

Redressing inequality in development: intersectional approach to children's plight


Karolina Mendecka (University of Lodz)

Paper short abstract:

The purpose of the paper is to evaluate on the importance of the intersectional approach to children's rights, in addition to the right to substantive equality, in order to improve their living conditions, prospects for the future and to enrich academic and political discourse on development issues.

Paper long abstract:

Children are the greatest victims of discriminatory politics and imperfect law of our times. This paper aims to evaluate on the available theoretical and legal tools that can significantly improve their plight and support overcoming the inequality, as well as enhance factors that increase the process of development. Notably, the formal understanding of equality (which purports that likes should be treated alike) is outdated - the recent scholarship promotes the substantive equality, which focuses on the group that has experienced disadvantage the most. However, as S. Fredman proposes, the right to substantive equality "should not be collapsed into a single formula", such as equality of results, opportunity or dignity. Instead, she proposes new analytical framework that takes into account affirmative actions, surmounting prejudice, enforcing equal participation and accommodation of diversity. This paper will develop on that theoretical scheme in reference to children, and broaden it by adding the intersectional dimension, which has become an essential concept in the human rights discourse. The term "intersectionality" is used to describe the situation where multiple grounds of discrimination (gender, disability, economic status etc.) operate at the same time. It will be argued that there is a pressing need to acknowledge the intersectional approach in law in addition to the multidimensional substantive equality measures, as it can further political discourse on development issues and improve children's protection all over the globe.

panel F02
Law, inequality, and development: new theories, methods, and insights (Paper)