International Feminist Strategies: Strengths and Challenges of the Rights-Based Approach


Zwingel, Susanne. 2013. “International Feminist Strategies: Strengths and Challenges of the Rights-Based Approach.” Politics & Gender 9 (03): 344–51. doi:10.1017/S1743923X13000226.

Author: Susanne Zwingel


Claiming the rights of women in a world of blatant gender hierarchies is an international feminist strategy that has been around for a long time. Rhetorically, it has been part of the human rights framework since its very inception, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 already contains important elements of gender equality, thanks to the lobbying efforts of a handful of women's rights advocates at the time. But it took the wave of global consciousness regarding gender inequality that swept the world in the 1970s to make women's rights relevant enough to codify them in a human rights treaty: the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). A decade and a half later, the Vienna Conference on Human Rights (1993) coined the slogan “women's rights are human rights” and thus emphasized the centrality of women's experiences for a holistic understanding of human rights. In the time since then, the human rights discourse has become increasingly intersectional and inclusive. While the scope and content of human rights remain contested, many women's rights activists around the world rely on this framework in their struggles for global justice.

Topics: Gender Analysis, International Law, International Human Rights, Justice, Women's Rights

Year: 2013

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at