This study is a critique of the institutional structures and cultural dynamics that pose obstructions to U.S. ratification. The United States is a liberal democratic state founded upon ideals of freedom and equality, thus the history of non-ratification of major international human rights treaties appears to be an anomaly. This book suggests that it is not. Liberal democracy, as it was conceived and has developed in the United States, is problematic as a model in the globalization of concern for women's human rights. This study is not a comparative examination of state exclusion and oppression of women. Neither is it an attempt to distinguish the United States in the larger sense from other Western liberal democratic regimes in its treatment of women. Rather, the study is a gender-sensitive examination of specific dynamics and characteristics inherent to the socio-political, economic, and legal systems of the United States which have precluded incorporation of the rights of women on an equal basis with the rights of men. The interaction of these dynamics and characteristics describes a uniquely American view of itself and its own history which serves to render the U.S. system troublesome as an examplar for state incorporation of the human rights of women. Unreserved ratification of CEDAW constitutes a strong indication of effort, by the ratifying state, to protect the human rights of women. The United States has refused to ratify CEDAW.

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