Negotiating gender equality in the United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas: Conference paper

Joanna Bourke-Martignoni , Priscilla Claeys

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

This paper explores the governance of gender in the international human rights arena by charting the negotiating history of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. The Declaration was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in September 2018, following six years of negotiations. The actors involved in this participatory intergovernmental process – states, social movements, non-governmental organizations and academics - came to the table with different interests and agendas, of which gender equality demands formed just one component.

This contribution examines the evolution of the gender related dimensions of the text of the Declaration, from the radical claims of civil society actors to an inter-governmentally negotiated outcome. It analyses this evolution against the backdrop of the wider debates on rural women’s rights, gender equality and gender identities happening contemporaneously in the Human Rights Council and also within key constituencies, including transnational agrarian movements, such as la Via Campesina. Using an approach that deploys textual analysis, qualitative interview data and participant observation of the negotiation process between 2012 and 2018, we seek to map the trade-offs that occurred in connection with the inclusion, exclusion and transformation of gender equality demands over the course of the Declaration's development.

The paper sheds light on gendered power dynamics and issues of intersectionality as these played out within the negotiation of the Declaration and ends with some broader reflections concerning the gender politics of international human rights governance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2019

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