Social Equality Law


To teach students to think about equality, discrimination, and identities, in theoretical terms. To give them theoretical tools to be able to query the practices whereby historically institutionalized unequal relationships are constructed, using law and its various discourses.

Capacity to analyze reconstructions of legal and non-legal discourses with a view to the removal of discrimination, particularly socio-discursive mechanisms for the creation of contra-hegemonic identities.

Good knowledge of International, Regional (Mostly European, EU and CoE) and domestic Law in the areas of nondiscrimination (gender, race, sexual orientation). 

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Helena Pereira de Melo


Weekly - 3

Total - 36

Teaching language



Not Applicable


Bibliografia principal: 

  - Beleza, Teresa Pizarro (2010), Direito das mulheres e da igualdade social  A construção jurídica das relações de género, Coimbra: Almedina

  - Beleza, Teresa Pizarro (2013) «Women's Rights in International Law», in Gender Violence in Armed Conflicts, cadernos Instituto de Defesa Nacional, Lisboa. Online at 

  - Beleza, Teresa Pizarro (2015) «Gender Issues, Equality and Human Rights. Some Thoughts and Cautionary Notes» in CIEG, Estudos de Género, Perspectivas multidisciplinares.

   -Beleza, Teresa Pizarro (2019) «Olympe de Gouges» in Kasey McCall-Smith, Jan Wouters, Felipe Gómez Isa, eds (2019) Faces of Human Rights, Hart Publishing.

 -  Dahl, Tove Stang (1993) Direito Das Mulheres, Lisboa: F C Gulbenkian. (English Version: Women¿s Law. An Introduction to Feminist Jurisprudence, Univ. Oslo, 1987)

  - Hellman, Deborah (2008), When is Discrimination Wrong? Cambridge: Harvard University Press

  - Melo, Helena Pereira De (2007), Implicações Jurídicas Do Projecto Do Genoma Humano: Constituirá A Discriminação Genética Uma Nova Forma De Apartheid?

Vol. 1, Porto: Serviço De Bioética E Ética Médica Da Faculdade De Medicina Do Porto

Further suggestions / references will be given to the Students during the semester.

Teaching method

Evaluation: Final written exam, short research papers.

Evaluation method

Formal lectures and more informal discussion of concepts, texts, and case law of international, European or Portuguese courts. Soft-law texts. Possibility of preparation and discussion of short research papers regarding relevant topics (e.g. "discrimination according to sexual orientation in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights "). 

Subject matter

Equality and wrongful discrimination. Legal theories that explain how and when is it wrong to draw distinctions among people based on certain personal features or group association. International and national legal texts that fight sex, gender, race, religious discrimination. The course is centered on gender discrimination but other forms of discrimination are considered, as well.


Programs where the course is taught: