This article proposes that language identifying human rights of women in U.N. Conference documents has its origin in several different feminist theories. An understanding of these theories can help to clarify meaning, resolve inconsistencies, and predict the future direction of language in U.N. documents. Part I examines three prominent feminist theories and their relation to international law. Part II examines the history of women's rights in U.N. documents and examines the influence of feminist theory on the document language. Using the Women and the Economy section of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Platform for Action (Platform for Action), Part III shows how feminist theories can aid observers in understanding the documents and in making predictions about future trends. Comparison of the Platform for Action with a recent U.N. document titled Further Actions and Initiatives to Implement the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action supports predictions made based on the use of certain theories. Although language in U.N. documents still shows the influence of each of the three major theories, this article concludes that Dominance Feminist theory has the greatest impact.
R. C. Preston & Ronald Z. Ahrens,
United Nations Convention Documents in Light of Feminist Theory,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol8/iss1/1