Pathways to Gender Equality: An Analysis of the Impact the Relationship Between Religion and the State and Committing to CEDAW Have on Women’s Rights Open Access

Randleman, Taylor (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/jw827b66t?locale=en
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Abstract

The effectiveness of CEDAW on improving women’s rights is commonly debated as it is one of the most ratified international treaties. I analyze whether the level of commitment to the CEDAW treaty influences its effectiveness in increasing women’s rights. I conceptualize commitment to CEDAW by looking at the level of treaty action and the length of time since committing to the treaty. Religion is an important societal factor that’s influence on women’s rights is understudied. This paper seeks to examine how the relationship between religion and the state may limit the realization of women’s rights. I conceptualize the relationship between religion and the state by looking at the level of government involvement in religion, specifically when there are strong ties between religion and the state, and the presence of religious legislation. I hope to uncover how the impact of CEDAW will be conditioned by the strength of religion within the political and legal system of the state. Drawing on previous theory and literature, I hypothesize that strong religion-state ties and a large amount of religious legislation will negatively impact the realization of women’s rights. I further hypothesize that a greater level of commitment to CEDAW will result in a greater realization of women’s rights. To test these hypotheses, I utilize a cross-sectional, time-series design and include five different measures of women’s rights. My data analysis is for the period of 1981 to 2012 and includes all countries with available data. My findings indicate that a greater level of commitment to CEDAW has a significant and positive impact on the realization of women’s rights. I also found that strong-religion state ties and a large amount of religious legislation significantly and negatively impact the realization of women’s rights.

Table of Contents

1.     Introduction. 1

2.     Theory and Literature. 3

2.1Defining Women’s Rights. 4

2.1.1        Political 6

2.1.2        Economic. 7

2.1.3        Social 7

2.2       The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 8

2.2.1        Level of Commitment to CEDAW... 9

2.2.2        Enforcement Mechanisms of CEDAW... 10

2.2.3        The Influence of Societal Factors on Domestic Implementation of CEDAW... 11

2.3.4       The Effects of CEDAW Over Time on the Institutionalization of International Norms  12

2.3.5           CEDAW Impact on Women’s Rights. 13

2.3 Religion. 14

2.3.1           Strong Religion-State Ties. 15

2.3.2           Number of Religious Laws. 17

2.3.4          The Conceptualization of Religion. 18

3.     Statements of Hypotheses. 19

4.     Research Design: Variables and Methods. 20

4.1 Dependent Variables- Sets of Women’s Rights Measures. 21

4.1.1        Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) 21

4.1.2        The Political Empowerment Index (V-dem Gender) 22

4.1.3        Hill and Karim (political inclusion) 23

4.2       Independent Variables- CEDAW and Religion. 23

4.2.1        Level of Commitment to CEDAW... 23

4.2.2        Religion. 24

4.3       Control Variables. 25

4.3.1        Population Size. 26

4.3.2        The Level of State Economic Development 26

4.3.3        Level of Democracy. 27

4.3.4        Civil Conflict and International Conflict 28

4.3.5        Presence Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) 29

5.     Methodological Approach. 31

6. Results and Discussion. 34

6.1 Religion and Women’s Rights. 36

6.1.1            Table 1: Cross-national Regressions on Strong Religion-State Ties. 37

6.1.2             Table 2: Cross-national Regressions on Number of Religious Laws. 40

6. 2 CEDAW and Women’s Rights. 41

6.2.1            Table 3: Cross-national Regressions on Years Since Ratifying CEDAW... 42

6.2.2            Table 4: Cross-national Regressions on Years Since Signing the CEDAW Optional Protocol 44

6.3. The Interacting Effects of CEDAW and Religion on Women’s Rights. 46

6.3.1            Table 5: Cross-national Regressions on Strong Religion-State Ties and Years Since Ratifying CEDAW    47

6.3.2           Table 6: Number of Religious Laws and Years Since Ratifying CEDAW... 49

6.4 Comparing Measures of Religion. 50

6.4.1           Table 7: Strong Religion State Ties and Muslim Percentage of the Population. 51

6.4.2          Table 8: Number of Religious Laws and Muslim Percentage of the Population. 52

7. Conclusion. 53

8. References. 59

9. Appendices. 67

9.1 Appendix A. Summary Statistics for All Variables. 67

9.2 Appendix B: Summary of CIRI Indicators. 68

9.3 Appendix C: Summary of Women’s Political Empowerment Index Indicators. 69

9.4 Appendix D: Summary of Hill and Karim Dataset Indicators. 70

9.4 Appendix E. Collinearity Tests. 73

9.3 Appendix F. Additional Analyses. 74

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