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Gender Justice and CEDAW: The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

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Ethnographic analysis carried out over the years, indicates that the critical feature of the CEDAW process is its cultural and educational role: Its capacity to coalesce and express a particular cultural understanding of gender. Like more conventional legal processes, its significance lies in its capacity to shape cultural understandings and to articulate and expand a vision of rights. This is a form of global legality that depends deeply on its texts, not for enforcement but for the production of cultural meanings associated with modernity and the international. It is ultimately dependent on generating political pressure on states from the CEDAW committee, from sympathetic leaders within a country, and from international and national nongovernmental organizations.

Affiliations: 1: New York University, Email: sally.merry@nyu.edu

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