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IR Working Paper 2005/1 (PDF, 201KB)
Brooke A. Ackerly and Bina D’Costa, ‘Transnational Feminism: Political Strategies and Theoretical Resources’, IR Working Paper 2005/1, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Affairs, The Australian National University, March 2005.
Despite sharing many successes at promoting international collaboration, enabling effective responses to politically powerful states, increasing awareness of formerly invisible violations of the human rights of women, and gaining ground in many countries and in international law, women’s human rights activists have many differences among them—in resources, location, issue-focus and strategies. It is appropriate to pay attention to these differences, particularly as they create challenges to the movement for women’s rights. However, we argue that the women’s human rights discourse—as developed and deployed by women’s human rights activists—can be a resource for addressing these challenges internal to the movement while facing current challenges from outside the movement. Attentive to the politics of defining a movement and its spokespeople, the article includes an extensive methodological discussion. We arrive at our conclusions after observing a broad range of women’s activism and interpreting the reflections of a wide range of activists. Taken together, they offer a view of human rights as indivisible and of the rights of all humans as interrelated. This view is useful for self-reflection within women’s movements and for the ability of participants of various women’s movements to use the women’s human rights framework for meeting contemporary challenges.