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The politics of women's rights at the United Nations: a transnational diplomatic history of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1974-1979)

Grant number: 22/10905-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2022
Effective date (End): September 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - International Politics
Principal Investigator:Felipe Pereira Loureiro
Grantee:Natali Francine Cinelli Moreira
Supervisor: Barbara Zanchetta
Host Institution: Instituto de Relações Internacionais (IRI). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: King's College London, England  
Associated to the scholarship:20/12224-4 - Negotiating women's rights during the Latin-American Cold War: Argentina, Chile, the United States and the origins of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1974-1979), BP.DR


This research proposes understanding how political disputes and power relations shaped, enhanced, and constrained the negotiations of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW or the Convention) from 1974 to 1979. The literature has widely studied how political and power structures profoundly intertwined with the women's agenda at the United Nations during the 1970s. However, there is an overwhelming silence regarding the drafting history of CEDAW. In a quest for cultural hegemony in the context of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union relied on the status of women as a measure of progress and national superiority. It is then surprising that the literature has approached so superficially the impact of political and power tensions on the negotiations of CEDAW. Focusing on the experience of the United States, I propose to (i) identify the main governmental and non-governmental actors involved in the drafting process of the Convention; (ii) understand how they interacted with each other inside the UN structure and with the government and organizations back home; and (iii) discuss the complex - domestic and international - political tensions and power disputes that influenced negotiations. I will conduct multi-archival work in public and private institutions in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, United States, and Switzerland. I will use as methodological tools the feminist approach to international law, as well as the transnational and event-structure approaches to international history. In the end, I aim at providing a better understanding of the politicized origins of the Convention. (AU)

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