First Advisor

Melody E. Valdini

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science: International Development and University Honors


Political Science




Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979 December 18), Women -- Legal status laws etc., Women's rights, Treaties -- Ratification




Many international women’s rights treaties have been adopted and ratified in the years since the closing of World War II. The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was adopted by the United Nations in 1979, and has been ratified by all but six states parties. Women all over the world continue to endure mistreatment and inequality, despite multiple international efforts, such as CEDAW, to improve conditions on their behalf. This thesis aims to analyze possible ulterior incentives for the ratification of women’s rights treaties, motivated by the alarming disconnect between rhetoric and action put forth by individual states. I examine and collect data for various indicators chosen to represent the conditions for women in various aspects of life within states who have ratified CEDAW. This data set is then compared with data collected from states who have not ratified CEDAW, in order to determine whether it is reasonable to assume women’s rights treaties have a significant impact on the likelihood of states to lower rates of gender-based abuse, improve opportunities, and reduce gender inequality.


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