Hill 2014 Violence

Title Information

Speaker: Deneil Hill

Title: Shifting Feminist Visions at the United Nations

Subtitle: Self Determination, Sexuality, and Violence against Women

Conference: 128th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association (January 2-5, 2014)

Place: Washington, DC

Date: January 4, 2014

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century

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»The twenty year period between 1975 and 1995 represents a unique moment in global feminism. Beginning with the International Women’s Year (1975) which was then extended into the UN Decade for Women (1976-1985) and ending with the World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995), it was a period when the United Nations (UN) emerged as the central location of diverse women’s mobilization and activism and a place where women from all over the world could create a transnational women’s movement. As part of this movement, women came together to participate in four world conferences on women—Mexico City (1975), Copenhagen (1980), Nairobi (1985), and Beijing (1995)—and drafted the important piece of international legislation on women’s rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979). Among the dominate discourses at the UN during these conferences were that of self-determination and women’s right to control their sexuality. In 1975, the two subjects were considered distinct and separate issues. By 1995, however, feminist from across the globe were discussing women’s right to sexual self-determination, intertwining the two discourses.
This paper argues that the emergence of the discourse of sexual self-determination at the UN was contingent upon the increasing emphasis of sexual violence against women in the late 1980s and 1990s. As transnational feminists began defining sexual violence as a human rights issue—declaring it a human rights violation at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna (1993) and as a war crime at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (1993) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (1994)—they began to develop an international discourse which expanded the dominant notions of female sexuality and health beyond reproductive control to include full bodily and sexual control.« (Source: American Historical Association)

Added: August 2, 2014 | Last updated: August 2, 2014