Women's Legislative Representation and Human Rights Treaty Ratification

Kaitlin Senk, Nicholas Coulombe, Jessica Edry

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Do recent increases in women’s representation around the world have implications for international relations? We argue that greater representation of women in legislatures increases the likelihood of human rights treaty ratification for two reasons. First, given their shared, gendered experiences of exclusion and discrimination, women legislators will advocate on behalf of marginalized groups on an international scale as transnational surrogate representatives. Second, women legislators may be more inclined to prioritize the ratification of human rights treaties because these treaties align with their domestic policy preferences which aim to support marginalized groups. We contend that, in countries where ratification depends upon legislative approval, legislatures are more likely to ratify human rights treaties as women’s presence increases. Using an original dataset of 201 multilateral treaties, we find that countries become more likely to ratify human rights treaties as levels of women’s legislative representation increase.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitics & Gender
Publication statusAcceptance date - 31 May 2024

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