GENDER AND WOMEN IN INTERNATIONAL LAW

Women and gender are at the center of the global economy. Globalization today is encouraging greater involvement by women to become activists who protest the socio-political-economic conditions born from the global impetus for “free trade” and contributing to phenomenal levels of global feminized poverty and systematic violence against women. Continue reading

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United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (1979).

CEDAW text in English.

The NOW Campaign to have the U.S. Ratify the CEDAW.

Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993).

Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (“Convention of Belem do Para”) (1994).

Beijing Declaration, Fourth World Conference on Women (without Platform for Action) (Sept. 15, 1995).

INTERNATIONAL RULES GOVERNING RAPE

Article 27 of Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1950).

Article 76 – Protection of Women in Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Int’l Armed Conflicts (1978).

GLOBAL PROTEST

In recent decades the influence of neoliberal economics helped to shape the ideas behind the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA, 1992), other free trade pacts and the recent Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA, 2005).

By the late 1990s, the harmful effects of “free trade” agreements designed more to protect the interests of foreign investing multinational corporations than the rights of workers and migrant laborers were being felt. Workers were complaining of dramatic drops in wages, unsafe working conditions, exposure to toxic chemicals, exploitation and abuse of young female workers, sexual harassment and sexual abuse, invasive forms of pregnancy testing, and environmental pollution caused by corporations dumping near workers’ residences.

In 1999 a massive protest took place in Seattle, Washington, at the annual gathering of the business and political elites who are members of the WTO against the impact of unregulated free trade.  The massive protest movement shocked the global business community.  It brought together thousands of individuals gathered under banners seeking to protect everything from women’s rights to worker’s rights, human rights and environmentalism.

The record of this historical moment has been collected by the WTO History Project.

Other forms of protest against globalization continue in the practice of conscious boycotting.

Other protests have emerged from college and university campuses across the nation, organized by the United Students Against Sweatshops.

The World Trade Organization, along with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are the key financial institutions that set the rules for international free trade today.

RECOMMENDED READINGS OR WEBSITES

Activist Websites on Women’s Issues

Carmen Gonzalez, An Environmental Justice Critique of Comparative Advantage: Indigenous Peoples, Trade Policy, and the Mexican Neoliberal Economic Reforms, 32 U of Pa J of Int’l Law 723-803 (Spring 2011). Synopsis.