A "Quick and Dirty" Approach to Women’s Emancipation and Human Rights?


Kouvo, Sari. 2008. “A ‘Quick and Dirty’ Approach to Women’s Emancipation and Human Rights?” Feminist Legal Studies 16 (1): 37–46.

Author: Sari Kouvo


During the past decade, women’s and human rights ‘language’ has moved from the margins to the ‘mainstream’ of international law and politics. In this paper, the author argues that while feminists and human rights activists criticise the ‘mainstream’s interpretation of women’s and human rights, ‘we’ do not question what becoming part of the mainstream and the cosmopolitan classes has meant for us. Drawing on examples of how women’s and human rights arguments have been used in the post-conflict state-building process in Afghanistan, the author attempts to show how international women’s rights and human rights advocacy campaigns planned by well-meaning humanitarians in Western capitals can backfire when implemented in politically complex environments.

Keywords: advocacy, Afghanistan, Afghan women, feminism, human rights, international feminist movement, international law

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, International Law, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2008

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