Cole, Wade M. (2012) Government Respect for Gendered Rights: The Effect of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on Women’s Rights Outcomes, 1981–2004. International Studies Quarterly, doi: 10.1111/isqu.12000
© 2012 International Studies Association
Using two-stage least-squares regression models, I analyze the effect of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on rated levels of respect for women’s rights. The results show that CEDAW has a strong positive effect on women’s political rights, no effect on economic rights, and a partially negative effect on social rights. Detailed analyses of political outcomes reveal that CEDAW membership was associated with an increase in the share of women in national parliaments but had no effect on the likelihood that governments adopted legislative quotas guaranteeing female representation in parliament. CEDAW was also more effective for some kinds of countries than others. Post-ratification improvements were particularly strong in democratic countries and countries with extensive linkages to women-focused international organizations, but CEDAW proved ineffective in Muslim polities and societies. The paper evaluates the implications of these findings and proposes new avenues for research.