©2014 Sara Angevine ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WOMEN'S RIGHTS FOREIGN POLICY IN THE US CONGRESS: POLICY OBJECTIVES, CONGRESSIONAL MOTIVATIONS, AND THE ROLE OF POLICY ENTREPRENEURS

Sara Angevine, Sara Angevine
unpublished
In my dissertation, I analyze how and why US members of Congress represent the interests of women in foreign countries, what I call women's rights foreign policy (WRFP). I explore what motivates US members of Congress, with limited time and resources, to legislate on behalf of foreign women and compare the differing WRFP objectives. I apply a mixed-­-method approach from a feminist theoretical perspective. To assess the policy objectives, I conduct a content analysis of all WRFP bills
more » ... RFP bills introduced in the US House of Representatives between 1973-­-2010. To analyze congressional motivation, I construct a second dataset and gather relevant data on all members of Congress (US House) for three different Congresses (2005-­-10). Using regression analysis, I test which factors increase the probability of a member sponsoring a WRFP bill. To deepen my research findings, I conduct qualitative case studies of the three most widely supported WRFP bills introduced during the 111th Congress (2009-­-10): 1) a bill supporting the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); 2) International Violence Against Women Act; and 3) International Protecting Girls from Child Marriage Act. In my research, I show the impact of domestic, foreign, and iii transnational interest groups on the US representation of global women's rights. I find that both traditional women's rights policy entrepreneurs (women members of Congress) and traditional American foreign policy entrepreneurs (House Foreign Affairs Committee members) are motivated to sponsor WRFP legislation. The objectives of WRFP bills reflect these two divergent groups overlapping and competing policy interests. This unique coalition results in broader support for what I call "strategic feminist" goals and the persistent failure of "transnational feminist" goals. I also show the constraints of domestic gender politics. My research contributes to American politics, international relations, and women and politics research. iv Acknowledgements
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