Assessing the Reach, Scope and Outcomes of Government Action on Women’s Health and Human Rights: A Protocol for the Development of an International Women’s Rights Dataset

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 2022, 21
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Background: The UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) represents an international commitment to equality in the enjoyment of human rights. International human rights scholars posit that, in facilitating constructive dialogues between states and human rights experts, the near-universally ratified Convention is a powerful tool for achieving global health goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet, the performance of such rights-based approaches in achieving gender equality, and empowering all women, has not been systematically measured and evaluated on a global scale. This study seeks to address the urgent need to support data-driven analyses to hold governments to account through the development of a global dataset measuring state action on women’s health and human rights. Methods: Standard systematic review methods will be used to review CEDAW periodic review reports produced by United Nations (UN) Member States, civil society organisations and the CEDAW Committee. Global participation with the review mechanism, the scope of health inequities covered by Committee recommendations, the nature of reported government action and the extent of implementation of each program will be extracted from each report. Only data from the two most recent reporting cycles will be analysed. Descriptive statistics will be used to analyse quantitative data, and all qualitative data will be analysed using policy mapping techniques. Discussion: Using these data, the study will navigate the nature and the extent of state action to address these issues including by increasing women’s leadership and participation, data collection, strengthening health systems, governance and coordination and establishing new human rights infrastructure. It will use the diversity of health and human rights issues affecting women to reframe traditional conceptualisations of global women’s health which have largely focussed on sexual and reproductive health, to the exclusion of other aspects of women’s lives through the life course. In addition, the study will aid the development of authoritative guidance on how each of these areas of state action and inaction contribute to health inequities, and a framework for designing interventions to address discrimination against women as it relates to health.
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