Women in Comparative Societies
Rights and Targets

Chpt. 2 in the UNIFEM Report

In writing your papers- you need to consider whether your country ratified/agreed to these covenants and whether the real political and economic situation of women in your country measures up to these promises

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)  (see p. 39)

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (drafted in 1966/in force 1976) (see p. 40)
Life, liberty, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention;
Freedom from torture; cruel, inhuman, degrading punishment;
Freedom from slavery or servitude;
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
Freedom of expression;
Freedom of assembly, association, including the right to join a union;
Equality of rights to both parties within a marriage and upon its dissolution;
Right to equal protection of the law.

International Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) (drafted in 1966/in force 1976) (see p. 40)
Right to work
Right to adequate standard of living
Workers’ rights – freely choose employment, right to fair wages and equal remuneration, right to form and join trade unions, right to social security and other “benefits”

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)(drafted in 1979;in force 1981) (see p. 43)
Calls on states to:
Study comparable worth
Report on social and legal situation of unpaid women working in family enterprises;
Include women’s domestic work in the calculation of GNP
Clarify women’s rights to marital property;
Collect gender specific data.

What kind of rights seem to be least attainable for women?

Why do you think this is the case?

Is rights discourse the best language, avenue to address women’s economic and political inequality?  Why or why not?

What other way is there?

Are international organizations/agreements an effective way to improve women’s lives?  Why or why not?
Some of the criticisms/failures noted (59-60)
****assumption that we can “add women and stir” to our analyses of economic problems; in other words, they
do not address the structural problems that underlie the feminization of poverty (what are these structural problems??)

**overemphasize poor women’s access to credit for micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (in other words, it’ll be okay if all women can become entrepreneurs)

**no national/international monitoring mechanisms
nor mechanisms to force/encourage compliance
(or are there????)

**no recognition of the erosion of STATE POWER which limits state ability to comply

**assumption that economic growth will trickle down to the poor

**over-emphasis on MARKET-BASED solutions

**under-emphasis on STATE-BASED solutions (these last three together = the tyranny of neo-liberalism)

**recognition of women’s unremunerated work and how this keeps/makes them poor but no means of redressing inequities