Dongxiao Liu


Between 1975 and 1995, a total of four world conferences on women took place under the sponsorship of the United Nations. These mega events were accorded a prominent place in the international/global women’s movement. This paper argues that we need to make a distinction between these two kinds of global organizing for gender equality. The former were sponsored by an international bureaucracy whereas the latter was started by women activists. Clarifying the difference helps to recognize the unique challenges posed by the world conferences for activists of the international/global women’s movement in the following aspects: dealing with logistical challenges, setting global priorities, coordinating international lobbying, and pushing for national implementation. Drawing on personal accounts, organizational records and United Nations documents, the paper explores how women activists adapted to the challenges and what lessons they offered for transnational activism in general.

Author Biography

Dongxiao Liu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Texas A&M University.