Linking research, policy and action: A look at the work of the special rapporteur on violence against women

Erturk Y., Purkayastha B.

CURRENT SOCIOLOGY, vol.60, no.2, pp.142-160, 2012 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 60 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0011392111429216
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.142-160
  • Keywords: activism, policy, research, special rapporteur on violence against women, women's human rights


This article focuses on the achievements and challenges in linking research, activism and policy in the making of a comprehensive international regime on women's human rights with a particular focus on the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. The impact of violence against women as an international policy agenda not only opened the private sphere to public scrutiny but it has also challenged mainstream human rights practice and State doctrine, and broadened and diversified feminist theorizing thereby facilitating the augmentation of the transnational women's movement. The article argues that preventing violence against women requires a holistic approach beyond the often hierarchical treatment of rights, the selective response to the problem as belonging to the 'other' and the narrow perception of violence as harm done. It concludes that unless women's agency is recognized and their capabilities supported through social, economic and political empowerment, and violence is located within the web of relations of inequality at local, national and global levels, the rights contained in international conventions, declarations and policy documents will remain unattainable for the majority of the world's women.