Human rights enterprise, women’s rights, conferences, activism


The highly-contested discourse of human rights figures prominently in the pronouncements of the United Nations, nation-states, and civil society entities. As a result, the human rights label may be applied to activist networks that do not necessarily characterize themselves as human rights networks. Yet, the principles of these networks clearly align with rights-based human dignity claims. How does human rights terminology impact analyses of activist organizations? How might organizations respond to this labeling? Furthermore, what are the methodological lessons to be learned from this process? In this article, I examine one case that highlights my application of a human rights label to an organization committed to securing gender equality for Nepali women. By underscoring the relevance of Armaline and Glasberg’s (2009) human rights enterprise, I account for human rights activism beyond the human rights discourse that prevails in the global North. The simultaneous divergence on the level of discourse and convergence on the level of goals illustrates how the human rights enterprise can be a powerful framework for the social scientific analysis of human rights