Thinking globally, acting locally?: the women’s sector, international human rights mechanisms and politics in Northern Ireland

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Literature considering international human rights mechanisms stresses that they have the best chance of success when they are closest to ideas which already exist within national contexts. Research which addresses women’s human rights bodies, such as the Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), argues that they function best when reinterpreted to fit the local context. Yet, situations where this domestic norm translation is occurring, but policy change is not achieved, have received little consideration. Why do some contexts, even where norm translation occurs, resist policy change? This article examines Northern Ireland, where these women’s rights bodies are used extensively in the women’s sector, but where change has not occurred. It argues that norm translation is not the only important factor, and that a greater consideration of local political structures is needed in order to more fully explain policy resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-96
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Early online date27 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017



  • gender
  • human rights
  • norm translation
  • Northern Ireland
  • UNSCR 1325

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