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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 15 In addition, many organizations that have the issue of women’s rights as human rights in their mission statements do not have clear distinct plans of action. Rather, they are often created to get a grant from the Western organization, which usually includes a decent salary for one-two persons in the organization and money to buy computers and establish a web-site. These organizations usually employ strategies of Western NGOs and use the language of civil society and gender studies to write grants and to communicate with local publics, most of the time not very successfully (Nelson, 1999, March). In addition, Nelson pointed out that women’s NGOs in Russia become so dependent on foreign funding that “they are compelled to constantly reinvent themselves, changing their mission statements about the scope of their activities, in order to qualify for as many projects as possible” (p. 17). Grant money available for such organizations can come from a number of sources, and many women in countries of the former Soviet Union specialize on writing the grants and constantly getting money to run small organizations which activities do not go further that supporting one-two employees of the organization and maintaining a web-site. Sometimes, even local media are not aware that such organization exists. No doubt, because of such practices publics periodically challenge all women’s NGOs and question their legitimacy. Another problem is a negative image of feminism in the society and women’s issue organizations as a result of this unfavorable image. It is beyond the scope of this paper to address all the aspects of such negative image of the feminist movement; however, it is essential to point out some factors that can help further understand the problems of women’s NGOs face in countries of the former Soviet Union. Feminism in Western sense does not exist in Russia (Buckley, 1997; Obojski, 1995; Rimashevskaia, 1992). Women’s rights in the Soviet Union were guaranteed by constitution, and no organizations that promote women’s rights existed. In

Authors: Tsetsura, Katerina.
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background image
Framing women’s rights as human rights
15
In addition, many organizations that have the issue of women’s rights as human rights in
their mission statements do not have clear distinct plans of action. Rather, they are often created
to get a grant from the Western organization, which usually includes a decent salary for one-two
persons in the organization and money to buy computers and establish a web-site. These
organizations usually employ strategies of Western NGOs and use the language of civil society
and gender studies to write grants and to communicate with local publics, most of the time not
very successfully (Nelson, 1999, March). In addition, Nelson pointed out that women’s NGOs in
Russia become so dependent on foreign funding that “they are compelled to constantly reinvent
themselves, changing their mission statements about the scope of their activities, in order to
qualify for as many projects as possible” (p. 17).
Grant money available for such organizations can come from a number of sources, and
many women in countries of the former Soviet Union specialize on writing the grants and
constantly getting money to run small organizations which activities do not go further that
supporting one-two employees of the organization and maintaining a web-site. Sometimes, even
local media are not aware that such organization exists. No doubt, because of such practices
publics periodically challenge all women’s NGOs and question their legitimacy.
Another problem is a negative image of feminism in the society and women’s issue
organizations as a result of this unfavorable image. It is beyond the scope of this paper to address
all the aspects of such negative image of the feminist movement; however, it is essential to point
out some factors that can help further understand the problems of women’s NGOs face in
countries of the former Soviet Union. Feminism in Western sense does not exist in Russia
(Buckley, 1997; Obojski, 1995; Rimashevskaia, 1992). Women’s rights in the Soviet Union were
guaranteed by constitution, and no organizations that promote women’s rights existed. In


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