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Global Governance and Gender Disparities. Explaining Developments in Key Labor related Human Rights Indicators

Final Report Summary - GLOGENDER (Global Governance and Gender Disparities. Explaining Developments in Key Labor related Human Rights Indicators)

The project has explored why nation states world-wide began implementing regimes protecting various forms of human rights, including gender parity in the second half of the 20th century. World society theory sees a nation’s outward poise predicted by how tightly it is enmeshed in a web of global actors orienting them toward common displays of world norms. Mainstream sociological literature has focused on national, issue-specific movements, highlighting the importance of the women´s movement for progressive gender legislation. While national movements played in important part in reforming the status of Western women merely looking for political and social human rights reform drivers within a nation state is anachronistic.
Today, the world is an open system where developments in some nations reverberate in all corners of the earth. This holds especially true if these developments are enshrined and propagated as desirable and appropriate in conventions by relevant world bodies such as the specialized agencies of the United Nations and carried forth in regional bodies such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
The project demonstrated that world society measures have a large and significant impact on equal opportunity measures both in regard to gender and the protection of vulnerable groups more generally. This finding dove-tails with gender mainstreaming approaches suggesting that promoting women's equality may be best done in unison with broader discrimination concerns.
Equal opportunity measures are propelled by an active civil society with the organizational capacity to launch protests in the cross-structured political terrain of open political systems. Civil society actors can draw upon world social norms as resonance frames to institute their demands. This finding addresses claims in the social movement literature about the success of the unruly and supports claims that protest, in conjunction with treaties, remain an important vehicle. Even movements that have traditionally been hostile to women’s issues, such as the labor movement, embedded among and infused with global values.
In sum, in enhancing the rights of women there are 5 strong effects:
1. International treaty effect via governmental ratification: Ratification always, significantly and positively impact the likelihood to institute non-discrimination provisions on any level of law, from the constitution to statues to policies.
2. Global civil society effect via international non-governmental organizations (INGOs): However coded, always, INGOs significantly and positively impact the likelihood to propel non-discrimination provisions.
3. Leverage effect: The various INGO variable interacted with ratification is also always, significantly and positively impact the likelihood to pass discrimination provisions on any level of law, from the constitution to statues to policies. This is born out by the statistical analyses and the many interviewees who pointed out how they lobby for ratification of the international treaty/law to be able to utilize it domestically.
4. Cascade effect: There is a cross-coupling between legislation and ratification so if there is already a national equal opportunity legislation in place, the nation state is also more likely to ratify a treaty affirming this issue. Then ratification in turn effects the passing of additional legislation such as policies deepening state involvement in promoting gender parity. Repeated risk models show this.
5. Specificity effect: Women and legal INGOs tend to be especially impactful statistically. Fiedl research shows that they tend to coalesce with other social movement actors, infusing them with their agenda.

In the Latin American context, regional bodies, i.e. the Inter-American Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights were very impactful. Interestingly, it was not vital that there was a ruling by the court on an issue but alone that the grievance procedure was before the commission and the commission had reprimanded, in this case Brazil for domestic violence, was enough to initiate sweeping changes in the neighboring countries. While purely statistical analysis would have not been able to demonstrate if this was because of a spurious relationship, the interviews with the social movement activists and legislators we’re able to validate that it was indeed the reprimand by the commission that caused these changes.