Research Handbook on Feminist Engagement with International Law
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Research Handbook on Feminist Engagement with International Law

Edited by Susan Harris Rimmer and Kate Ogg

For almost 30 years, scholars and advocates have been exploring the interaction and potential between the rights and well-being of women and the promise of international law. This collection posits that the next frontier for international law is increasing its relevance, beneficence and impact for women in the developing world, and to deal with a much wider range of issues through a feminist lens.
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Chapter 18: Challenging gendered economic and social inequalities: an analysis of the role of trade and financial liberalisation in deepening inequalities, and of the capacity of economic and social rights to redress them

Emma Larking


As a class, women are economically and socially marginalised. This chapter examines the extent of this marginalisation and suggests that it has been exacerbated and entrenched globally as a result of international trade and investment liberalisation. The chapter considers the normative development of social and economic rights as constraints on international organisations and on States’ behaviour in the context of international trade and investment. While the constraining power of social and economic rights is limited, human rights mechanisms are exerting political pressure by denouncing and publicising rights violations, including through an emerging focus on material inequality. Ultimately, however, the achievement of gender equality requires action beyond the domain of international law and human rights – it requires the defence of spaces where non-market-based relations and alternatives economies can flourish.

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