Implementing Human Rights Standards for Women

A Multinational Examination of How International Standards Become Practices, Laws, and Policies


About the Project

International human rights treaties reflect the commitments of governments to their inhabitants and the global community. However, the rights and protections contained in these treaties are only truly realized when they are incorporated into national, local, and institutional laws, policies, and practices. This proposal involves two studies that will examine how and the extent to which international human rights standards have been domesticated and implemented through improved policies and practices to support the protection of women’s human rights.

Three specific international instruments are considered: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (i.e. “the Bangkok Rules”). Two corresponding sub-projects, the first of which takes a comprehensive global perspective and the second of which focuses on the human rights of women in state custody, are presented in the following sections.   


Participating Faculty

Gina Fedock, Assistant Professor, School of Social Service Administration 
Claudia Flores, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago 


Project Activities  

year 1: June 2017 - May 2018

For Year 1, the Constitutional Reform study will engage in quantitative data analysis of the data that has been collected. The data will be entered into statistical software to conduct necessary regression analyses and the results will be organized and presented using econometric models. The results of this data analysis will be analyzed and the analysis of the data will be narrated in a report format. Interactive, online platforms may be developed, such as: interactive diabetes prevalence map and Vaccine Alliance. The final report will be designed, printed, and launched.      

Once the above is complete, researchers will hold a small symposium during which the report will be publicly launched and the impact of constitutional reform on women’s rights will be discussed, along with other stakeholders from academia and the field working on relevant issues.    

Year 2: June 2018 - May 2019

During Year 2, an event tentatively titled, “Human Rights in the World of Women’s Prisons: The Status of the Bangkok Rules” will be planned at the University of Chicago with two overarching goals. We envision hosting a human rights panel with speakers from various organizations that are local, national, and international in scope. Speakers will be invited to discuss prison conditions for women and the implementation of the Bangkok Rules and may include both research scholars and representatives from human rights organizations locally and globally.

This panel will be open to University of Chicago’s students, staff, and faculty and to the larger community. It may also be recorded for university archives for later public viewing, as well as live-streamed. As a companion to this panel, the second component of this event will be a working meeting for relationship building with scholars and representatives of human rights oriented organizations.   

This event will contextualize the University of Chicago as an institution invested in the promotion of human rights standards for incarcerated women with a global impact. A human rights workshop focused on the comparative study may also be held for graduate students at the University.