Eliminating gender stereotyping and exclusion of adolescent pregnant school girls
: An international human rights perspective under article 10(c) CEDAW

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis provides an international human rights law perspective on gender stereotyping as it applies to the practice of school exclusion of adolescent pregnant schoolgirls (APSGs) in Sub-Saharan Africa, using Kenya and Tanzania as case studies, wherever appropriate. In particular, this thesis argues that gender stereotyping is at the heart of the exclusion of APSGs.

The available literature indicates that pregnancy is a major factor why adolescent girls are out of school. In some contexts, the APSGs dropout on their own accord due to the stigma associated with the pregnancy and the negative response by schools, which makes them feel isolated and ashamed to remain in school. However, in most cases, the girls are deliberately excluded from school, or, they pre-emptively drop out. This is due to widespread gender stereotypes against girls that characterise schools, teachers and education officials’ response to schoolgirl pregnancy. As such, it becomes clear to APSGs that their exclusion is inevitable.

The available literature also reveals that the human rights dimensions of gender stereotyping are either overlooked or just mentioned in passing. From a legal perspective, the few legal scholarly works that applied the CEDAW framework focus mainly on the CEDAW and the right to education, rather than on gender stereotypes. As such, these studies do not give sufficient attention to the problem of gender stereotypes in the specific context of Article 10(c) CEDAW. This thesis thus relies on the legal framework that CEDAW provides, but also draws from other relevant international and regional human rights instruments in its analysis. In doing so, the thesis investigates the issue by identifying the operative gender stereotypes in the context of the exclusion of APSGs, analysing their harmful effects, articulating States Parties’ obligations to address the gender stereotypes and proposing ways in which States Parties can fulfill these obligations.

Thesis is embargoed until 31 December 2025.
Date of AwardDec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsQueen's University Belfast
SupervisorThérèse Murphy (Supervisor) & Yassin Brunger (Supervisor)


  • Gender stereotyping
  • Article 10(c) CEDAW
  • participation
  • International Human Rights
  • girls education
  • discrimination
  • comprehensive sex education

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