During 1990s, human rights and women rights were given a more focused approach because of international human rights movement. The collection of the theoretical and empirical studies justifies this argument. This is achieved by the engagement of the neo-liberal policies democracy and multiculturalism. The analysis achieved the goals by the application of the ‘gender lens’ and dominant value system. In addition, in the various policy arenas women are active participants. During 1990s the growth and the influence of international women movement which is lined with both regional and global networks, and one which is linked to the collaboration of issues related to policy and agenda setting. Women had been empowered by the year 2000. This is because some parties wrote to the UN claiming that they had systems in place that were producing significant results. For example, the quota system is said to have enabled women to get into the national assemblies.

The 1990s ambivalent character when compares to the 70s and 80s was made possible by the consolidation of the market le development model and much emphasizing on the democracy and rights. Scholars and activists, as well as majority of NGOs that have worked with women and poor communities have been able to justify that it is democracy and human rights advocating that have led to success in the challenging of inequality of women and the advancement of programs that have the ability to promote gender social justice and equitable development. In summary, the international women movement and conventions of 1990s was able to successfully advocate for women empowerment, equality and rise to power.

Organization of the volume

The book is divided onto four sections. Part 1 involves the theoretical involvement with the main thematic concerns of the script. Liberalism is most covered. The neoliberal approaches in this part to society-state remodeling do emphasis on the greater role of the state in p-public welfare. In addition, examination of gender equality of the multicultural claims to citizenship and democracy is expounded.

The subsequent parts;2, 3 and 4, are comprised of case studies. These are set to investigate three critical challenges from economical, political, and cultural points of view. They are the ones, which have been able to challenge the craving for democracy and rights. In part 2, the contributors analyze the gender implications of the tensions that exist between the orthodox and macroeconomic agendas, the social rights as well as delivery of welfare. Part 3, concerns the women organization in relation to the state and social movements that claim democracy is a legitimate principle. Part4, on the other hand, examines the tensions between universalism and multiculturalism.  This is done by the evaluation of Malaysia, Mexico and Uganda as developing nations.

Rethinking liberal rights and universalism

Feminism is given the perspective that it is since its birth been involved with the critical endorsement of the enlightenment principles. These are the principles of universal rights and equality as well as individual liberties. Women have demanded recognition as judicial and moral equals. In doing so, women have been able to apply the egalitarian principles as they try to advance the citizenship rights.

During its evolution, feminism as a transnational and pluralized as well as a ethnically diverse social movement, the doctrine did continue with the advancement of equality claims with the countercurrent of posing challenges to the masculine bias.

Women have strived to realized various recognitions. They have historically struggled for the recognition of some demands such as the honoring of their unpaid labor and the extension of human rights to encompass the right of body integrity and the reproductive and sexual choice as a right. As an example, violence against women has been viewed as a human rights issue and a criterion for the advancement of women rights across the economic, social, and political spheres.

In the struggle for sexual equality, the international systems and approaches were limited and variable. Majority of the governments sought to express their views and deal with the situation as independent entities. Moreover, many of the states choose to get into clauses exemption based on their cultures and religious affiliations. This is argued to have rendered the particular states signatures meaningless.

In summary, the liberal ascendency period was associated with limited advances on women rights. In addition, it was faced with lack of sufficient attention hence making the rights meaningless and non-substantive.  

Capabilities, rights, and Neo-liberalism

The criticism of the liberal interpretation of rights has been the tendency to give a higher priority some rights over other rights. The capability framework does however advocate for the both sets of rights and capabilities despite the fact that in practice it is based on economical as well as social rights, which as an example involves the life expectancy and nutrition. The capability framework does on the other hand direct its attention to the chronic failures in the satisfaction of the social needs and it is instrumental in exposing gender inequalities in human capabilities.

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In this section, it is argued that the attempt to secure a basic minimum might be a practical approach and politics that would probably be an effective approach towards the tackling of universal poverty.

Neo-liberalism is based on the strengthening of private property and extending the markets that are driven by profits and reduction of the economic as well as the welfare roles of the state.

The rights based development is argued a s fruitful way of thinking about human rights and about the rights based development. The approach does reinstate the specific approaches to universalism that entails solidarity and distribution. These are the ideas that have been marginalized in the recent years.

Universalism and multiculturalism

Multiculturalism is argued to be bad for women. This is because it does subordinate women rights individually at the favor of men, which is involved in-group rights made legitimate by culture and tradition as well as religion. 

Resistance to universal standards as far as women rights are concerned has been associated with significant growth in recent years. The rise of more confident ethnic politics has influenced the international makers of policies to accommodate greater respect for cultural diversity. This has been realized in both the national and universal levels and ity does require the recognition of cultural rights as a form of human right.

There exists a conflict between the rights Universalist principles and multiculturalism. The feminist do argue that qualified forms of universalism are defensible for political as well as the ethical purposes. The argument is that universal rights must remain a critical present part of a global society that is morally right.

Social sector restructuring and social rights

According to the argument and documentation by Heinen and Portet, a greater number of the policy and legal variations have been introduced in specific states, especially Poland since the translation to democracy came into prospect have practically been beneficial to women. The reforms have made it possible to erode the long-standing liberal principles of autonomy, individualism, and indeed equality as the justification of striping women what according to the Poland is referred to s the women special privileges.

Welfare emerging model is that the comprehensive access to the social rights more so to the social security is in detail reliant on the economic status. The argument is that it is only the parties that are economically active that have absolute exposure to such rights.

A critical issue to the issue that stresses the social sector is the lack of the institutional access of the socially disadvantaged groupings to the formal state institutions that deal with justice and rights.

Gender does impose limits the likely to be achieved issues in a society. It is necessary to elucidate the discourse of rights as the initial step in the journey. This needs institutional well worked out relationships and the restructuring of the incentives to give room for the claims of the poorest to be heard and be addressed.

Democratization and politics of gender

The state is the main institution that can protect the rights of people. The national government has the power and the ability to fight oppression based on gender as well as failed democracy. More so, during the democratization and gender politics era, majority of the social cultural initiatives were gender based and politicized. The options were settled depending on gender and the political affiliation. The forces of the reformists have failed to connect their arguments favoring the democratic principles to the rights of women and their political and intellectual leadership has for a large extent impervious to the cries of women. They have sidelined women cries for the masculine needs and demands.  

Multiculturalism in practice

Together with feminism, multiculturalism does converge in their critique difference blind liberalism. The convergence is referred to as blind because it not effective to liberate the universe from segregation.

The stalemate to the women issues was broken with the 1997 economic crisis. The set conditions of ensuing political upheaval are the factor that provided room for the addressing of women discontent and demands in a global language set to achieve democratic reforms.

The opposition parties’ were compelled to bury their differences for creating a united front to task the state. The usage of the gender card contributed to the uprising of the women leaders and they made demands on behalf of women.

Constructivist approach towards law and culture was significant in the efforts to claim women rights because it does allow them to escape being seen as ether supporting the endorsement of the national law or the indigenous customs.


The human rights based strategies have gained emphasis upon the multidimensional and indivisible character as well as the applicability in many nations. The strategies relating to human rights are vital to the feminist campaigns for justice.

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