Globalization and the Role of NGOs. A Pilot Study of a Transnational Network to Promote Women's Rights

Research question/goal: 

The influence of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on the process of formulating global human rights policy is the focus of investigation. The specific case is the international campaign launched by women's organizations targeting the U.N. global conference on human rights held in Vienna in 1993. Under the slogan "Women's Rights are Human Rights," the campaign was successful is placing important demands by women's organizations into the final text of this global conference, thereby ensuring they became part of the UN's political agenda. In so doing, a globally-networked group of civil society actors made a contribution to institutional change of the UN human rights regime, and thus to 'global governance' (in the sense of a goal-directed steering of international policy). The primary interest of the study is to establish the conditions for successful NGO influence on international human rights policy, which itself is characterized by the existence of an international human rights regime of the UN. A series of working hypotheses were formulated, based in part on a sociological definition of action and of institutions, in part on a model of the international political arena that was labeled a "societal world." These working hypotheses guide the investigation of the "Women's Rights are Human Rights" campaign, the results of which are meant to be systematic statements of the conditions necessary for a successful NGO contribution to global governing in the policy area of international human rights. The case study is based on an analysis of UN documents about the 1993 conference, documents of the various women's organizations involved in the campaign, and a series of qualitative interviews. The project served as a pilot study for the project "Strategy options of international governance: NGOs and good governance" (2000-2003).

Fact sheet

Gesellschaft der Freunde der Universität Mannheim