Om Myths about Womens Rights: How
Two conventional wisdoms dominate debates about why womens rights advance in some places but not others. While culture and religion are understood to be the primary barriers to gender equality, efforts by international institutions and womens groups to change social norms are often seen as the most effective way to reduce discrimination. This book introduces a third, often overlooked explanation - the core rights framework - to account for how, where, and why womens rights advance. It argues that female labor force participation and education serve as building blocks, or core rights, for the advancement of other womens rights. Cultivating core rights is believed to spur group consciousness, ease collective action problems, and render women in a politically relevant group, thereby increasing the prospects that womens rights are represented in the polity. In examining the advancement of womens rights across four major areas - political, nationality, reproductive, and property rights - this book shows that the conventional wisdom about the role of international norms and culture is usually overstated and often incomplete. It also presents systematic evidence evaluating the effectiveness of different prescriptions for improving womens lives across a broad range of rights.