Framing Human Rights

Location

University of Dayton

Start Date

10-2-2015 10:30 AM

End Date

10-2-2015 12:00 PM

Abstract

International Human Rights Organizations [IHROs] attempt to shape individuals’ values and mobilize them to act. Based on previous research, we know that IHROs may strategically manipulate gender images and stereotypes in order to increase consensus and action on human rights issues. The discourse of “women and children” as protected categories rests on the assumption that women do not participate in the public sphere, and as a result are apolitical and innocent, whereas men, especially draft-age men, are seen as political agents and potential combatants, and therefore automatically do not qualify for protection as civilians. While many scholars have rightly criticized this discourse as essentialist and empirically false, we ask the question – does it work? Are human rights campaigns, which rely on gendered imagery more effective at shaping individuals’ attitudes on a particular human rights abuse, and prompting them to take action on the issue? We test the efficacy of gendered human rights campaigns using an experimental research design. In our experiment, participants are randomly assigned to the control group (shown no campaign materials) or one of the treatment groups, which are shown a campaign against various human rights abuses featuring a personal frame (see McEntire, Leiby and Krain 2015) where the gendered imagery is minimal (a baseline), or one in which this imagery is amplified. We survey participants regarding their attitudes on the human rights issues, their likelihood to get involved in a human rights campaign, and their perceptions of men and women’s roles in times of war.

Comments

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Oct 2nd, 10:30 AM Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

An Experimental Examination of the Efficacy of Human Rights Campaigns: Gender Differences and Stereotypes (abstract)

University of Dayton

International Human Rights Organizations [IHROs] attempt to shape individuals’ values and mobilize them to act. Based on previous research, we know that IHROs may strategically manipulate gender images and stereotypes in order to increase consensus and action on human rights issues. The discourse of “women and children” as protected categories rests on the assumption that women do not participate in the public sphere, and as a result are apolitical and innocent, whereas men, especially draft-age men, are seen as political agents and potential combatants, and therefore automatically do not qualify for protection as civilians. While many scholars have rightly criticized this discourse as essentialist and empirically false, we ask the question – does it work? Are human rights campaigns, which rely on gendered imagery more effective at shaping individuals’ attitudes on a particular human rights abuse, and prompting them to take action on the issue? We test the efficacy of gendered human rights campaigns using an experimental research design. In our experiment, participants are randomly assigned to the control group (shown no campaign materials) or one of the treatment groups, which are shown a campaign against various human rights abuses featuring a personal frame (see McEntire, Leiby and Krain 2015) where the gendered imagery is minimal (a baseline), or one in which this imagery is amplified. We survey participants regarding their attitudes on the human rights issues, their likelihood to get involved in a human rights campaign, and their perceptions of men and women’s roles in times of war.