1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Civil Society and Social Movements (2000 - 2009)

The Global Women's Rights Movement: Power Politics around the United Nations and the World Social Forum



This paper examines the discourse, inputs and reorganization of strategies that emanated from the lobbying of women’s rights movements vis-à-vis global agencies like the United Nations (UN), as well as the World Social Forum. Harcourt sets out some key strategic questions for consideration: How much have women’s movements achieved by working in collaboration with the UN? Is there a recognizable global women’s rights movement as it is perceived on the UN stage? Is there such an entity as a global women’s movement, or is it just a skilfully played mirage?

The author seeks to answer these questions based on her experience as a feminist researcher and activist involved in women’s rights issues, as well as through reference to the literature and ongoing debates. The essay is a contribution to these heated debates: about the role of global agencies; their effects on the autonomy, legitimacy and representativeness of social movements; and their local impacts and actual benefits for women around the globe.
  • Publication and ordering details
  • Pub. Date: 1 Aug 2006
    Pub. Place: Geneva
    ISSN: 1020-8178
    From: UNRISD