Although the scope of the right to culture has never been more recognized nor clarified, culture itself is currently portrayed in some human rights narratives as a tool of oppression and an obstacle to human rights, especially women's rights. Certainly, cultural rationalizations that justify human rights violations and the misappropriation of culture by dominant (male) elites put a dent in the recognition of collective cultural rights. However, the article argues that the binary understanding of universality versus culture and collective cultural rights ultimately harms women's rights, as such understanding does not reflect all women's experiences, priorities, and strategies. The article uses the example of indigenous women to highlight the importance of culture for some women. It suggests a paradigm shift from portraying minority and indigenous women as victims of their cultures to pushing for their empowerment through and beyond their cultures. In essence, the piece advocates for a multilayered, nuanced approach on women's rights that addresses universalism but also considers postcolonial feminist and anthropological critiques of human rights.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 701-724
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.