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Examining a Conceptual Fallacy on Culture under the Women’s Convention


 This Article conceptualizes culture under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which states that traditional, cultural attitudes cause gender-based violence (GBV) as an empirical puzzle. Prominent western scholar Merry (2003) critiques this reference. However, non-Western scholars from Israel, Latin America, India and Africa concur in the legal opinion that traditional, cultural attitudes cause GBV. Empirical evidence on the sati (widow burning) of Roop Kanwar (1987) and the Parliamentary reversal of the Shah Bano Judgment (1986) demonstrate that traditional cultural attitudes cause GBV. This negates Merry (2003) and demonstrates the intensity of GBV in non-Western cultures.

 Shritha Vasudevan* 

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