Report on women deprived of liberty

15 May 2019
Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women and girls
To the Human Rights Council’s 41st session in June 2019
Link to report:
A/HRC/41/33 available in all 6 official UN languages


The present report analyses the causes of deprivation of liberty of women from a gender perspective. It provides an understanding of the ways in which women are uniquely and disproportionately affected by deprivation of liberty, owing to structural discrimination throughout their lives. While deprivation of women’s liberty manifests differently in different contexts, there is a common underlying cause: the persistence of patriarchal systems. Patriarchy shapes gender stereotypes and forms of discrimination that normalize them.


The report contains a number of recommendations to support States in developing and implementing comprehensive measures that are aimed at legal, institutional, social and cultural transformation, such as:

  • Modifying or eliminating all laws based on stereotyped gender roles
  • Putting in place mechanisms to provide opportunities for support to all women to exercise their autonomy and agency
  • Banning laws and practices policing, targeting, punishing or confining women in relation to consensual sexual or reproductive behaviour or decisions

Read all recommendations and conclusions of the report on women deprived of liberty  


To inform its thematic report, the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice circulated a questionnaire on women deprived of liberty. Responses were received from different stakeholders, including Members States, civil society organizations and other actors, and contributions on issues related to the theme, submitted by several partners.

Questionnaire (English | Français | Español)

Inputs received

Member States


NGOs and Civil Society Organizations

Other stakeholders