Women’s Progress and Women’s Human Rights

Women’s Progress and Women’s Human Rights
Title of Journal: 
Journal Citation: 
38(3) HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY, 589-622 (2016)

In this article, Nussbaum argues that the impact of international human rights law on women’s progress should be assessed broadly. Legal documents, e.g., the CEDAW, have little direct impact on their own. And what direct impact they do have is often difficult to measure. Nevertheless, Nussbaum argues that international women’s human rights documents, for all of their notable limitations, do have a substantial impact when assessed in terms of how they enable the women’s movement. This enablement includes changing the language surrounding women’s issues, bringing together women across the globe, and focusing women’s aspirations for social and political change. In showing that international women’s human rights documents are impactful in ways not easily quantifiable—yet still tangible and meaningful—Nussbaum restores confidence in the efficacy of such documents and opens up new areas of research in the field of international women’s human rights.