Race, Gender, and Human Rights: A Glimpse into the Transnational Feminist Organization of Afro-Brazilian Women

Part of the Comparative Feminist Studies Series book series (CFS)


This excerpt from feminist Charlotte Bunch identifies a critical reason for the increased prominence and usage of international human rights frameworks among social activists, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and governing bodies in the twenty-first century.1One of the most notable proponents of this framework has been the international women’s movement. Framing gender inequality as a human rights issue has effectively strengthened the movement’s criticisms of gender-biased domestic policy and broadened its support among other transnational social movements. Yet, in recent years growing numbers of feminist activists and legal scholars have noted the limited utility of a gender-centered viewpoint (Crenshaw 1989; Bond 2003; Lewis 2003). They have called for the development of an intersectional approach to human rights, which would effectively address the multiple forms of discrimination simultaneously faced by women. From this perspective, the multidimensionality of women’s identities and the human rights abuses perpetuated against them cannot be fully revealed within a single axis framework. Gender identities and inequalities cannot be clearly delineated from those based on race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, or other identity categories, but must be viewed as manifestations of the interactions that occur between these social forces. In effect, a theoretical and legal framework of human rights that does not adequately consider the “complex and multilayered realities [of] women cannot be expected to achieve the full implementation of human rights” (Lewis 2003, 514–15).


Black Woman Racial Discrimination Feminist Movement Brazilian Society Racial Equality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Clara Román-Odio and Marta Sierra 2011

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