Women’s Rights, International Law and Domestic Politics: Explaining CEDAW’s Effectiveness

34 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 28 Aug 2011

See all articles by Neil Englehart

Neil Englehart

Bowling Green State University

Melissa K. Miller

Bowling Green State University

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Demonstrable positive effects of the United Nations’ international human rights treaties have generally eluded researchers. The vast majority of quantitative research provides little evidence of treaty effectiveness. The Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is an exception. It has a statistically significant and positive effect on women’s rights. This result is counter-intuitive, given that CEDAW has enforcement mechanisms as weak, if not weaker, than other human rights treaties. Furthermore, women’s rights are implicated in deeply ingrained cultural systems that are difficult to change. This paper examines CEDAW’s effectiveness, suggesting that domestic dynamics put in motion by the treaty are likely responsible for its effectiveness, rather than international enforcement mechanisms.

Keywords: CEDAW, women's rights, human rights

Suggested Citation

Englehart, Neil and Miller, Melissa K., Women’s Rights, International Law and Domestic Politics: Explaining CEDAW’s Effectiveness (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1902066

Neil Englehart (Contact Author)

Bowling Green State University ( email )

Melissa K. Miller

Bowling Green State University ( email )

Department of Political Science
Bowling Green, OH 43403
United States

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