* Staff Writer, Boston College Third World Law Journal (2001–2002).
1 See Ute Gerhard, Debating Women’s Equality 1 (2001).
2 See id. at 3, 9–10, 91.
3 See id. at 1.
4 See id. at 4, 179.
5 See id. at 162. American feminists, such as Catherine A. MacKinnon, have argued for the use of “sameness” rather than “equality,” according to the Aristotelian line of reasoning in which only likes are to be treated alike. See Gerhard, supra note 1, at 162. However, Gerhard argues that this reasoning simply does not apply to European feminist theory, since most European constitutions have provisions establishing the legal equality of men and women, which therefore exclude consideration of gender difference. Id.
6 See Anika Rahman & Nahid Toubia, Female Genital Mutilation: A Guide to Laws and Policies Worldwide 48 (2000). Although this Book Review examines the limitations of the Western perspective, particularly as applied to developing nations, the author acknowledges that she herself is largely a product of Western feminism. While this author’s approach attempts to embrace cultural sensitivity with regard to female circumcision, as a feminist issue and with regard to proposals for eradication, this Book Review is written from the perspective that eradication should be the ultimate goal. See Erika Sussman, Contending with Culture: an Analysis of the Female Genital Mutilation Act of 1996, 31 Cornell Int’l L.J. 193, 213 (1998). This being the case, and in light of the physical and psychological trauma experienced by many circumcised women, without any medical benefit, this Book Review operates under the assumption that female circumcision, particularly in its most invasive forms, constitutes unequal and abusive treatment of women in the cultures in which it is practiced. See Micere Githae Mugo, Elitist Anti-Circumcision Discourse as Mutilating and Anti-Feminist, 47 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 461, 461 (Winter 1997).
7 See Ellen Gruenbaum, The Female Circumcision Controversy 3–4 (2001); Amanda Cardenas, Female Circumcision: The Road to Change, 26 Syracuse J. Int’l L. & Com. 291, 293 (1999). Use of the term “female circumcision” has become more widespread in the past couple years as a more culturally sensitive variation of the term “female genital mutilation,” which became widely used by women’s human rights activists during the 1990s. See Gruenbaum, supra, at 3. “Female genital mutilation” may be an accurate choice of words in that it conveys the damage that the practice wields on healthy tissue on the female body. Id. However, the term, which carries connotations of bad or malicious intent, can be extremely offensive to women who participate in the practice, since their intentions are to elevate a girl’s prospects for a successful life in her community. See id. Even though this Book Review utilizes the more culturally sensitive term, “female circumcision,” this term is also a misnomer to the extent that it suggests a correlation to “male circumcision,” where the removal of the foreskin in the male is generally considered non-mutilating. See id. at 3–4. While this Book Review will primarily utilize the term “female circumcision,” because it is a more commonly understood term with legal and political theorists, the author will also employ the term “female genital cutting,” which has gained some use in recent scholarship as a choice that is less offensive than “female genital mutilation” but less of a misnomer than “female circumcision.” See Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 4; Elizabeth Heger Boyle & Sharon E. Preves, National Politics as International Process: The Case of Anti-female-genital-cutting Laws, 34 Law & Soc’y Rev. 703, 703 (2000).
8 See Gerhard, supra note 1, at 177.
9 See id. at 91.
10 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 38–39.
11 See Gerhard, supra note 1, at 4.
12 Minority Rights Group, Report No. 47, Female Circumcision, Excision and Infibulation: The Facts and Proposals for Change 6 (Scilla McLean ed., 1980).
13 See id. at 3.
14 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 49.
15 See id. at 69–71; Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 5, 78; Cynthia Fernandez-Romano, The Banning of Female Circumcision: Cultural Imperialism or a Triumph for Women’s Rights?, 13 Temp. Int’l & Comp. L.J. 137, 140 (1999).
16 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 70.
17 See id. at 79. It is important to note that the practice does not necessarily protect virginity, since infibulation can be re-done after intercourse. See id. at 78–79; Alexi Nicole Wood, A Cultural Rite of Passage or a Form of Torture: Female Genital Mutilation from an International Law Perspective, 12 Hastings Women’s L.J. 347, 357 (2001). Nonetheless, in these communities, virginity is a social and physical construct, commonly viewed as “guaranteed” by infibulation, regardless of whether the woman has, in fact, engaged in intercourse. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 79. Virginity may be more practically ensured through female circumcision by the decrease in a girl’s sexual sensitivity. See id. However, even though sex may be painful and hence unappealing for infibulated women and girls, sexual desire is a psychological attribute, and therefore might still be present. Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 7.
18 Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 7; see Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 87; Wood, supra note 17, at 357–58. The importance of marriage to a woman’s survival and security in many of these countries cannot be over-emphasized. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 87. In a culture where women are poorly educated, if at all, marriage provides a woman’s surest hope for economic security, both during her husband’s life and in her old age, through the care of the children she bears. See id. at 79.
19 See Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 5–6.
20 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 78; Fernandez-Romano, supra note 15, at 143. It is important to remember that women in countries where infibulation is prominent are used to seeing smoothness and enclosure instead of exposed genitalia. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 73. Thus, an infibulated woman is seen as beautiful by her cultural standards. See id. Indeed, an uninfibulated woman would seem masculine and ugly. Id. As shocking as practices surrounding female circumcision might seem to outsiders, one should remember that several cultures have beauty standards that involve medically changing the natural body. See id. at 72. In the Western world, skin removal, breast implants, nose alterations, face lifts, and liposuction are painful and risky medical procedures—even mutilations—aimed at achieving a more aesthetically pleasing body. See id. at 72; Cardenas, supra note 7, at 311.
21 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 153.
22 Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 7; see Wood, supra note 17, at 358–59. In some communities, female circumcision is performed to preserve distinction between the sexes. Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 7. In many of these communities, genital cutting is urged by the belief that the clitoris will continue to grow and dangle like male genitalia if it is not cut. Id. Other medical misconceptions include beliefs that the clitoris can actually harm the male sex organs or a baby during delivery. Id.
23 See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 7; Wood, supra note 17, at 356–57. The source of female circumcision is found in cultural traditions. See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 7. However, although there is no religious requirement to do so, some religious authorities have adopted and encouraged this aspect of traditional culture. See id.
24 See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 7; see also Wood, supra note 17, at 356–57, 370. According to Dr. Taha Ba’asher, regional director for the World Health Organization, the misconception probably arose from a generalization of male circumcision, which has been framed more explicitly as a religious mandate in Christianity and Islam from the command by God to the Prophet Abraham, as applicable to the female. Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 7; see Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 63.
25 Sussman, supra note 6, at 199–202.
26 Id. at 200. Article 5 of the UDHR states that, “[n]o one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Id.
27 Id. This convention also forbids torture, which it defines as:
[A]ny act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as . . . intimidating or coercing him or a third person for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
Id.
28 Sussman, supra note 6, at 201–02.
29 Id. at 201.
30 Id.
31 Wood, supra note 17, at 364. In the case of infibulation (which is the most serious form of circumcision, performed on an estimated 15% of all circumcised women), the wedding night can be particularly painful. Id. In order for the woman to be penetrated during intercourse, an almost fully closed vaginal opening will need to be re-opened. Id. It can take weeks before the husband is able to fully penetrate his wife, although there are reports of husbands using daggers or razor blades to open the closure more quickly. Id. In Somalia, tradition further dictates that a newly married couple should have prolonged and repeated intercourse over a period of eight days, with the woman trying to lie in bed perfectly still during this entire time to keep the wound from re-closing. Id.
32 Fernandez-Romano, supra note 15, at 139–40; Note, What’s Culture Got to Do with It? Excising the Harmful Tradition of Female Circumcision, 106 Harv. L. Rev. 1944, 1948 (1993); Wood, supra note 17, at 362–63.
33 See Sussman, supra note 6, at 202.
34 Id. at 201.
35 Hope Lewis, Between Irua and “Female Genital Mutilation”: Feminist Human Rights Discourse and the Cultural Divide, 8 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 1, 28 (1995).
36 Id. at 28–29.
37 Sussman, supra note 6, at 208.
38 Lewis, supra note 35, at 28–29.
39 Mugo, supra note 6, at 465.
40 See Gerhard, supra note 1, at 177; Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 7; infra notes 41–43, 47 and accompanying text.
41 See Gerhard, supra note 1, at 177.
42 Id.
43 Id.
44 Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 82.
45 See Note, supra note 32, at 1948; Sussman, supra note 6, at 209.
46 See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 20.
47 Gerhard, supra note 1, at 180. In her writing, Gerhard specifically confronts and condemns gender-based violence, including battering and other domestic violence, sexual abuse, sexual slavery and exploitation, and international trafficking in women. Id.
48 Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 48; see Lewis, supra note 35, at 8–9; Jaimee K. Wellerstein, In the Name of Tradition: Eradicating the Harmful Practice of Female Genital Mutilation, 22 Loy. L.A. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 99, 102 (1999); Wood, supra note 17, at 360.
49 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 152–56.
50 Note, supra note 32, at 1947.
51 See Lewis, supra note 35, at 32; Wellerstein, supra note 48, at 9.
52 Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 17.
53 See Gerhard, supra note 1, at 177; Clare Dalton & Elizabeth M. Schneider, Battered Women and the Law 945–44 (2001). The public/private distinction has been important in human rights activism because it demonstrates why women, who are often abused in “nonpublic, intimate, private sphere of the family,” are not adequately protected by human rights efforts that only focus at stopping human rights violations that are committed in public, by the state. See Gerhard, supra note 1, at 177.
54 See id. at 7–11.
55 See id. at 3, 8. Gerhard argues that equal rights activism would not exist if there were not actual differences between people that resulted in unequal treatment. See id. at 8. Furthermore, Gerhard is critical of theories of equality that simply aim for women to “attain the status of men.” See id. at 9. Rather, she argues for a standard of equality that is super ordinate to the current status of either sex, so that each sex may maintain its differences while enjoying a dignified and equal status in society. See Gerhard, supra note 1, at 8–10.
56 See id. at 8.
57 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 32. The Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 provides an example of how “equality” has not been accepted by all women around the world. See id. At this conference, Muslim women from many countries argued against “equality” as a shared goal in the Platform for Action document. Id. Instead, they urged for usage of the word “equity,” which implies separate, gender-specific roles for the sexes but fair treatment for women. Id. “Equity” in this sense, while a step in the same direction, is still a far cry from “equality” as understood by Western feminists. See id.
58 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 38–39.
59 See Gerhard, supra note 1, at 179.
60 See id.
61 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 32.
62 Id. at 25.
63 See Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 78–79.
64 See id. These programs involved a targeting of community leaders and presenting them with a cost-benefit analysis of why female circumcision is not a good practice for the community. Id. This approach enjoyed initial success because of its “rewards program,” which culminated in an awards ceremony, held during annual cultural days, in which leaders were praised for their decisions to order the cessation of female circumcision. Id.
65 See id.
66 Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 78–79.
67 See id.
68 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 38.
69 Id. at 38–39.
70 Id. at 104.
71 Id.
72 See id.
73 See Wellerstein, supra note 48, at 116. The importance of the equality of all persons is expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that, “[a]ll human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Id.
74 See Gerhard, supra note 1, at 91.
75 See id. at 4.
76 World Health Organization et al., Female Genital Mutilation 15 (1997); Leigh A. Trueblood, Female Genital Mutilation: A Discussion of International Human Rights Instruments, Cultural Sovereignty and Dominance Theory, 28 Denv. J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 437, 465 (Fall 2000). See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 209.
77 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 209.
78 See L. Amede Obiora, Bridges and Barricades: Rethinking Polemics and Intransigence in the Campaign against Female Circumcision, 47 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 275, 357–58 (Winter 1997).
79 Id. at 357–58.
80 Trueblood, supra note 76, at 465.
81 Sussman, supra note 6, at 237–38.
82 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 206; Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 14, 18; Sussman, supra note 6, at 237–38. In Kenya, the Church of Scotland began an anti-circumcision campaign in 1906, through which it pressured the British colonial government to outlaw the practice. Sussman, supra note 6, at 237. In 1915, the church succeeded in getting a rule passed that banned certain types of circumcision of schoolgirls. See id. The result of these efforts was that circumcision became even more entrenched in Kenyan culture, as a symbol of cultural resistance against an unpopular colonial government. See id. at 237–38. In the years following the fall of British colonialism in Kenya, the post-colonial government supported female circumcision, as a symbol of Kenyan nationalism. See id. at 238. While President Moi reversed this policy in 1982, and argued for criminalization, female circumcision is still legal and commonly practiced in the country. See id. In 1946, British colonial authorities in Sudan passed a law banning female circumcision in that country. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 206. In one of the government’s first efforts to enforce the law, police took a local midwife into custody. Id. The local population was outraged at this attack on their midwife and their customs and rose up in force to destroy the jail and free the midwife. Id. at 206–07.
83 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 176. In Sudan, for example, even medical professionals frequently disregard the 1946 law banning female circumcision in order to ensure that circumcisions are carried out under more hygienic conditions. See id.
84 See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 14. The Minority Rights Group interviewed a traditional birth attendant in Sudan who reported that even rumors of government plans to enforce anti-circumcision legislation in Egypt resulted in a frenzy of circumcisions performed by operators who continued their work under the cover of night. See id. at 14. Secretive, night circumcisions were also reported in Sudan, following the criminalization of the practice in 1946. Sussman, supra note 6, at 239–40.
85 Wellerstein, supra note 48, at 132.
86 Gerhard, supra note 1, at 4.
87 See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 14; Wellerstein, supra note 48, at 102.
88 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 158; Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 90; World Health Organization ET AL., supra note 76, at 15; Sussman, supra note 6, at 250.
89 See Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 80.
90 See id. at 73, 79.
91 Id. at 79; see Cardenas, supra note 7, at 313.
92 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 206–07; Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 9; Sussman, supra note 6, at 237. In Kenya, the British colonial government attempted to prohibit female circumcision as early as 1906. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 207. After independence, Kenyan politicians supported female circumcision as part of their political campaigns, as part of a nationalist program against the effects of colonialism. See id.
93 Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 205.
94 See id. at 203.
95 See id. at 204. African female activists have achieved a greater measure of effectiveness than their Western counterparts through their ability to organize nongovernmental grassroots organizations focused on changing female circumcision practices and eventually eradicating the practice altogether. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 206. One such organization that has been instrumental in the grassroots effort to end female circumcision is the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children. See id.
96 See id. at 204.
97 See id. at 210, 212–13; Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 74, 79, 80. International funding can be very effective in initiating grassroots education and activism. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 210. Furthermore, the statements contained in international conventions, when the product of some level of international consensus, constitute important educational tools for grassroots organizations. See id. at 212.
98 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 206.
99 See id. at 221.
100 See id. at 203–04, 216.
101 Lewis, supra note 35, at 33.
102 Id.; Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 203–04, 216; Leti Volpp, Feminism Versus Multiculturalism, 101 Colum. L. Rev. 1181, 1208–10 (2001). As an example of one such policy, the Sudan National Committee for Traditional Harmful Practices includes information about the health risks of female circumcision as only one part of an educational outreach program that begins by addressing other reproductive issues. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 197. These issues, including child spacing, contraceptive use, and maternal and child health, are often more readily accepted by local communities than the anti-circumcision message. Id. These educational programs do, however, lay the groundwork for acceptance of this message later on in the course of community education. Id.
103 Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 73.
104 See id.
105 Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 16. A seminar held by the Cairo Family Planning Association in 1979 produced a set of fourteen resolutions aimed at eradicating the practice of female circumcision. Out of these fourteen, twelve resolutions focused on the need to educate local populations. See id. at 16–17.
106 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 207.
107 See id. at 87.
108 See id. at 195.
109 See id. at 206.
110 See id. at 207.
111 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 177; Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 10. The Minority Rights Group publication cited here was published in 1980 and demonstrates the anti-circumcision movement’s focus on health education as a means to stop female genital cutting. See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 10. By 2001, Gruenbaum and exiled Sudanese Women’s Union leader Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim recognized the importance of addressing not only health concerns but also women’s place in society. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 177.
112 See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 10.
113 Id. at 7; see Wood, supra note 17, at 358–59.
114 See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 10; Wellerstein, supra note 48, at 141.
115 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 177.
116 See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 16.
117 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 177–78.
118 See id. at 158.
119 See id. at 87, 209.
120 See id. at 192.
121 See id.; Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 76–77; Trueblood, supra note 76, at 466–77. In Senegal, a two-year economic and development program intended to empower women resulted in the decision by the targeted village to abandon the practice in 1997. Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 76–77. The program incorporated an emphasis on educating and empowering women through literacy training, the development of analytical skills and problem solving, and health and human rights education. Id. As a result of this initiative, women in this Senegalese village gained the self-confidence to publicly denounce female genital cutting and to end the practice without any direct external pressure to do so. Id.
122 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 159–60.
123 See id. This has happened in cases where economic development gives men, and not women, increased power and status, which leads to the adoption of polygamy. See id. at 160. Polygamy has often worked to further entrench female circumcision, often resulting in the adoption of even more invasive practices. See id. at 163. This happens where wives compete with each other for their husband’s affections and where he expresses a preference for a wife who is infibulated or infibulated more tightly than the others. See id.
124 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 158–59.
125 See id. at 160.
126 See id. at 163.
127 See id. at 159–60.
128 See id. at 195–96.
129 Wellerstein, supra note 48, at 136. The collaborating organizations are Maendeleo Ya Wanawake, a Kenyan group, and the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), an international non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of women and children in developing countries. Id.
130 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 195.
131 See id. at 195–96.
132 See id.; Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 77.
133 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 195.
134 Id. at 195; Wellerstein, supra note 48, at 136.
135 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 195–96.
136 See id. at 196.
137 Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 12.
138 Id.
139 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 73. The history of female facial scarring in Sudan provides an example of how popular culture can influence aesthetic preferences. See id. The intentional scarring of women’s faces, through cutting and scratching, was a widespread practice in Sudan for years, due to an aesthetic preference for scarred faces. Id. The practice has recently been discontinued, in large part because of the widespread influence of a popular song, which praised the beauty of the unscarred face. Id.
140 See id. at 207. The use of pledge societies in Africa to end female circumcision is another innovative tactic that warrants further investigation, given the success of this approach in eradicating foot binding in China. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 193–95. Foot binding, the Chinese practice of crippling a girl’s feet through bending and breaking at a young age in order to prevent proper growth, shares many cultural underpinnings with the practice of female circumcision in Africa and the Middle East. Sussman, supra note 6, at 215. Both practices were intended to ensure virginity and faithfulness on the part of women, and they were each equated with status and marriage prospects for women and sexual pleasure for men. See Fan Hong, Foot binding, Feminism and Freedom 45–46 (J.A. Mangan ed., 1997). The practice of foot binding endured in China for ten centuries, despite legislative efforts to criminalize the practice. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 193. In the end, foot binding was eradicated in China through the educative work of Christian missionaries in the late 19th century. See id.; Hong, supra, at 55. The missionaries formed “anti-foot binding societies” which required members to sign pledges that they would refrain from binding their daughters’ feet. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 193–94. In Africa, a plan to use pledge societies to end female circumcision would require that members pledge not to circumcise their daughters, with membership providing a social incentive to join. See id. at 194. Because pledges are common for other purposes in Africa, this approach might be effective in ending female circumcision. See id.
141 See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 20.
142 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 209–16.
143 See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 20.
144 See id.; Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 177.
145 See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 20.
146 See id.; Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 76.
147 Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 176; see Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 20.
148 Obiora, supra note 78, at 367–68.
149 Cardenas, supra note 7, at 312
150 Id.; Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 176; Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 20.
151 Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 5; see Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 189; Cardenas, supra note 7, at 312. There are many health risks that accompany infibulation, regardless of how “hygienically” the procedure was performed: chronic infections of the vagina and uterus, scar formation on the vulval wound that can obstruct walking, growth of implantation dermoid cysts, obstructed labor, rupture of the uterus, painful menstruation due to the difficulty of blood being released, and many other complications. See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 5. Even with the least serious form of circumcision, clitoridectomy, there is certainly at least some harm done to women’s ability to experience sexual pleasure. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 189.
152 Obiora, supra note 78, at 365.
153 See id. at 370.
154 See id. at 366–67.
155 See Mugo, supra note 6, at 464.
156 See id.
157 See Minority Rights Group, supra note 12, at 20.
158 See id.; Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 209–16; Rahman & Toubia, supra note 6, at 89.
159 Wood, supra note 17, at 373.
160 See id.
161 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 210–12; Mark W. Janis, An Introduction to International Law 272 (1999); see also Wood, supra note 17, at 373. For example, the 1979 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has been signed “with reservations” by many countries that find the concept of “equal rights” to be incompatible with their religious or cultural views of men and women. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 211. In addition, CEDAW has been criticized as having “no teeth” because it lacks a protocol which would allow women to take complaints against their governments directly to the United Nations. Id. at 211–12.
162 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 210.
163 See id. at 210; Boyle & Preves, supra note 7, at 704.
164 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 213; Wood, supra note 17, at 373.
165 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 212. For example, Gruenbaum recounts meeting a Nepalese woman at the 1995 NGO Forum in Beijing. Id. This woman explained how she and her female friends in Nepal had been unexposed to international ideas and did not know which rights they could claim. Id. Nepalese feminists used rhetoric from international covenants to make up songs about rights to teach local women. Id. An example of a now-popular lyric among Nepalese women in villages is: “I have the right to choose my own husband and decide for myself when to marry.” Id. This is only one example of the way in which a concept from international covenants about women’s rights can trickle down to affect the lives of local women through grassroots movements. See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 212.
166 Id. at 213.
167 See Lewis, supra note 35, at 10–11; Mugo, supra note 6, at 464.
168 See Lewis, supra note 35, at 11.
169 See Gerhard, supra note 1, at 1; Cardenas, supra note 7, at 311; Wellerstein, supra note 48, at 115.
170 See Gerhard, supra note 1, at 4.
171 See Mugo, supra note 6, at 478–79.
172 See Obiora, supra note 78, at 330.
173 Mugo, supra note 6, at 470–71.
174 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 177.
175 See Mugo, supra note 6, at 478; John Tochukwu Okwubanego, Female Circumcision and the Girl Child in Africa and the Middle East: The Eyes of the World are Blind to the Conquered, 33 Int’l Law. 159, 161 (1999).
176 Gerhard, supra note 1, at 177.
177 See Gruenbaum, supra note 7, at 177; Mugo, supra note 6, at 479.
178 See Sondra Hale, Gender Politics in Sudan: Islamism, Socialism, and the State 238 (1996).