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Nexus: Shaping Feminist Visions in the 21st Century

Posted in The Role of the State on November 29th, 2012 by
Source: cwgl.rutgers

As the world experiences increasing inequalities and gaps between and within countries, women’s rights organizations are working to challenge current hegemonic systems and develop alternatives for change. Building on feminist economic analyses, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) is undertaking the production of periodic briefs – Nexus: Shaping Feminist Visions in the 21st Century – to enhance women’s leadership for the realization of human rights. The briefs aim to both engender analytical and practical approaches to human rights in general, and economic and social rights in particular, as well as strengthen the capacity of feminist and social justice movements.

At the UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993, governments recognized that human rights are the primary responsibility of governments. Given this,  human rights principles could be used to assess the ways in which economic policies are moving towards the full realization of economic and social rights. However, how does one measure a government’s performance on economic and social rights? This brief provides an introduction to conducting an economic and social rights audit on economic policy.

When discussing governments’ utilization of maximum available resources we sometimes overlook fiscal and monetary policies and the ways in which these instruments can be used in compliance with human rights principles such as non-discrimination, transparency and accountability. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) specifies in Article 2.1 that, “each state party … undertakes steps, individually and through international assistance and co-operation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the economic, social and cultural rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures.” In this brief we focus on maximizing financial resources for the realization of economic and social rights.

Ever wonder if the U.S. government could use a better framework to address poverty, inequality and unemployment? Have you considered how certain policies that are overwhelmingly supported by government and corporate interests undermine adequate standards of living and reinforce gender disparities? Economic policy directly affects access to housing, income, healthcare and jobs, and is intrinsically connected to the realization of human rights. Macroeconomic policies (fiscal and monetary) can either serve to enhance or erode people’s enjoyment of basic human rights. The purpose of this brief is to highlight the links between macroeconomics and human rights in order to better inform discussions about solutions.



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