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Are borders only georgaphic? A case study of whether framing of women’s rights as human rights is successful at the domestic level
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing women’s rights as human rights 14 NGOs of the countries of the former Soviet Union still go through the development process and are periodically challenged not only by the states but also by publics. Because of the Soviet past, no tradition of creating and participating in the nongovernment organizations exists, and thus publics are still cautious about the NGO nature and activities. Even though 600 women’s organizations are registered in the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, there are only few organizations that are known outside of the city in which they were created (IHF- HR, 2000). Most of them are rather special interest groups that unite women with a specific concern, such as women mothers or women professional designers. Often times these organizations are apolitical, and their goals do not reflect the issues covered in the Beijing’s Platform for Action. At the same time, those organizations that address women’s rights issues and in their activities frame them as human rights face legitimacy problems in their own communities. Because of the low awareness among publics about women’s NGOs in general and the issue women’s rights in particular, publics do not see such NGOs as useful and important (Kay, 2000). For example, a women’s organization in Tver, Russia wanted to send local delegates to the NGO Forum on Women in 1995. “Realizing that this might lay them open to accusations of only working for their own gain, they subsequently decided to donate their takings to a local women’s cancer ward instead,” Kay wrote (p. 152). Nevertheless, women continued to raise awareness among their community about the Beijing forum and world conference. The existing frame of women’s rights as human rights does not allow these NGOs to effectively use tactics, such as information and symbolic politics, to voice these concerns at the domestic level.

Authors: Tsetsura, Katerina.
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Framing women’s rights as human rights
14
NGOs of the countries of the former Soviet Union still go through the development
process and are periodically challenged not only by the states but also by publics. Because of the
Soviet past, no tradition of creating and participating in the nongovernment organizations exists,
and thus publics are still cautious about the NGO nature and activities. Even though 600
women’s organizations are registered in the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, there
are only few organizations that are known outside of the city in which they were created (IHF-
HR, 2000). Most of them are rather special interest groups that unite women with a specific
concern, such as women mothers or women professional designers. Often times these
organizations are apolitical, and their goals do not reflect the issues covered in the Beijing’s
Platform for Action.
At the same time, those organizations that address women’s rights issues and in their
activities frame them as human rights face legitimacy problems in their own communities.
Because of the low awareness among publics about women’s NGOs in general and the issue
women’s rights in particular, publics do not see such NGOs as useful and important (Kay, 2000).
For example, a women’s organization in Tver, Russia wanted to send local delegates to the NGO
Forum on Women in 1995. “Realizing that this might lay them open to accusations of only
working for their own gain, they subsequently decided to donate their takings to a local women’s
cancer ward instead,” Kay wrote (p. 152). Nevertheless, women continued to raise awareness
among their community about the Beijing forum and world conference.
The existing frame of women’s rights as human rights does not allow these NGOs to
effectively use tactics, such as information and symbolic politics, to voice these concerns at the
domestic level.


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