Seeking Gender Justice in a Globalizing Age

This book explores the emergence of transnational, UN-oriented, feminist advocacy for women's human rights, especially over the past three decades.

It identifies the main feminist influences that have shaped the movement liberal, radical, third world and cosmopolitan and exposes how the Western, legalist, state-centric, and liberal biases of mainstream human rights discourse impede the realisation of human rights in women's lives everywhere.

The book traces the evolution of the women's human rights movement through an examination of its key issues, debates, and practical interventions in international law and policy arenas. This includes efforts to:

  • Develop global gender equality norms via the UN Women's Convention

  • Frame violence against women as a human rights issue
  • Address gender-based crimes in conflict situations, include women in conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction, and challenge new forms of militarism
  • Highlight the gendered human rights dimensions of widening inequalities in a context of neo-liberal globalisation
  • Develop human rights responses to anti-feminist fundamentalist movements with a focus on reproductive and sexual rights

Ultimately, Women's Human Rights reaffirms a commitment to critically reinterpreted universal human rights principles and demonstrates the vital role that bottom-up, transnational movements play in making them a reality in women's lives.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 -- Theorising transnational feminist advocacy in a globalising age

Chapter 2 -- Human Rights, Gender and Contested Meanings

Chapter 3 -- Women's Human Rights as Equality and Non-Discrimination

Chapter 4 -- Violence against Women and Reproductive and Sexual Health as Human Rights Issues

Chapter 5 -- Women's Human Rights in Conflict and Post-conflict Transformation

Chapter 6 -- Development, Globalisation and Women's Human Rights

Chapter 7 -- Fundamentalisms and Women's Human Rights


Niamh Reilly was interviewed by Dr. Elizabeth Heineman of the New Books Network, a consortium of podcasts dedicated to raising the level of public discourse by introducing serious authors to serious audiences, in December 2011.  To listen to the interview, click here.


Niamh Reilly, Women's Human Rights: Seeking Gender Justice in a Globalizing Age, is available in hard cover and soft cover from all online booksellers and the publisher, Polity.

"[A] landmark book . . . Summing Up: Essential" -- CHOICE