Promoting the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was a key objective of the transnational women's movement of the 1980s and 1990s. Yet, few studies examine what factors contribute to ratification. The small body of literature on this topic comes from a world-society perspective, which suggests that CEDAW represented a global shift toward women's rights and that ratification increased as international NGOs proliferated. However, this framing fails to consider whether diffusion varies in a stratified world-system. I combine world-society and world-systems approaches, adding to the literature by examining the impact of women's and human rights transnational social movement organizations on CEDAW ratification at varied world-system positions. The findings illustrate the complex strengths and limitations of a global movement, with such organizations having a negative effect on ratification among core nations, a positive effect in the semiperiphery, and no effect among periphery nations. This suggests that the impact of mobilization was neither a universal application of global scripts nor simply representative of the broad domination of core nations, but a complex and diverse result of civil society actors embedded in a politically stratified world.

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