Women, international law and international institutions : the case of the United Nations
This final article considers the evolution of women's rights concepts and mechanisms within the United Nations. Gaer writes about this subject both as an historian of and a longstanding activist for women's human rights. She provides a critical history of how “women's” rights have been separated from and connected to “human” rights within the UN. Gaer examines how the Commission on the Status of Women, the original UN division which inherited the agenda of the first wave of international feminism, dealt with many of the challenges raised by the activists and organization that proceeded it: making the shift away from great power, Euro American leadership; facing new political environments raised by anti colonial and third world national developments; and expanding the feminist agenda beyond political and civil rights. By ending with an examination of the dilemma of enforcement that the UN still faces with respect to women's human rights, Gaer makes it clear that the subject of international feminism presents challenges that go beyond the academic, and is continuously linked with the efforts and freedom of the world's women.