chapter  13
16 Pages

Seduced by information, contaminated by power: Women’s rights as a global panopticon


Taking seriously the notion that human rights are not disinterested affirmations of humanity but are thickly saturated by politics, this chapter shows how the regime-like character of women’s rights monitoring compromises the possibility of supporting what “rights’ stand for. I examine how the work of the international institutions established to support women’s rights globally is characterized by the imbrications of rights within the global political economy. My specific site of analysis is the process of CEDAW1 monitoring at the United Nations and its effects on women’s rights advocacy in Ghana. I explore the ways in which the mechanism that is supposed to safeguard women’s rights instead induces polyvalent effects, some of which compromise those rights. This chapter will show that the monitoring process partakes in a disciplinary regime in which global inequalities are given another run, resulting in a reinforced gridlock of positions that ultimately fails to support Ghanaian women’s rights advocacy.