Marianna Leite


This article investigates the impact of multinational corporations with respect to the concept of gender equality. According to legal pluralism theory, in every society, two or more legal systems not belonging to a single ‘system’ coexist. It is, however, unknown to what extent non-state actors contribute to the ‘bending and breaking’ of rules in legal systems that are inherently pluralistic in the juristic sense. Although, the use of the language of rights has grown rapidly amongst development policy and practice, the rhetoric of formal rights as advocated by international development bodies has not always improved the everyday reality. This is because public policies geared towards social justice have no effect if not inserted into a wider culture of political measures for positive change. In this sense, an empirical examination is proposed to understand the role exerted by multinational corporations in the development and implementation of International Human Rights Law by focusing on the concept of gender equality. It relies of legal pluralism theories combined with critical discourse analysis to map the processes associated with the transformation of key terms and their meanings. It attempts to understand the nuances in the use of human rights-based discourses by four different multinationals, and their relation to the de-politicisation of the wider human rights movement.

Author Biography

Dr. Leite is post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Coimbra. She has PhD in Development Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London. Prior to this, she was a research associate at the International Gender Studies Centre at the University of Oxford.