CEDAW country study

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This assignment provides you with the opportunity to explore the ways in which women’s rights have been implemented in a particular country, and to consider how a variety of factors might influence a country’s approach to women’s rights.

For this assignment, choose a country of interest to you. Find out the following:

  • Provide a brief overview of the country, for those who may not be familiar with it. Is the country a state party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)? A signatory? Or has it not even signed the Convention?
  • If it has not signed the Convention, what might explain its failure to do so? If the reasons have to do with the provisions of CEDAW itself, point to the sections of the document the state might find objectionable, and explain why they might prevent the state from signing.
  • If the state has signed but not ratified the Convention, what might be standing in the way? Is there any documentation you can find of efforts that the state might have made to ratify it?
  • If the state has ratified the Convention, has it made any reservations to it? If so, what are they, and what might explain those reservations?
  • Where does the country stand with regard to the Optional Protocol to CEDAW?
  • Think of two possibilities that you might recommend to the country about what it should do regarding CEDAW (e.g., Is it doing well, but needs to improve? Does it need to change its practice? Sign the treaty? Ratify the treaty? etc.) How might your recommendations be received? Why do you think so? As you think about this, you might refer back to what Perry says about internal and external critique.1

At the end of the semester you will submit a well-researched essay that presents your findings. You will also give a formal presentation of your findings in class.


  1. See Perry, Michael J. 1997. “Are Human Rights Universal? The Relativist Challenge and Related Matters.” Human Rights Quarterly 19 (3): 461–509.