International Women's Convention, Democracy, and Gender Equality


  • The author will share all data and coding for replication purposes.



This article empirically investigates the impact of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) on women's rights.


By measuring commitments to CEDAW based on reservations made by states, this article tests whether the convention enhances women's economic, social, and political rights.


Using panel data for up to 147 countries for the period of 1981–2007, my findings suggest that CEDAW improves women's social rights advocating changes in cultural practice toward gender equality and this effect is conditional on the level of democracy of a member state. However, the joint effect of CEDAW and democracy does not seem to create any significant impact on women's political and economic rights, nor does CEDAW or democracy alone affect any dimension of women's rights.


These results indicate that collaborative efforts between international law and domestic institution are crucial to promoting gender equality.