Political Science, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Politics & Gender 3 (2007), pp. 451-474. Copyright 2007 by The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association; published by Cambridge University Press. Used by permission.


While there has been a significant amount of research on transnational feminist activism at the global level, many feminist transnational advocacy networks are mobilizing within world regions. The lack of attention to the regional level has created a considerable imbalance in research on transnational activism. This article's first objective is to define regional advocacy networks (RANs) as a collection of individuals and organizations from the same world region working together toward a common goal. The article's second objective is to explore the conditions under which RANs are influential. We investigate conditions for RAN success through a case study of an African network that helped create one of the world's most progressive treaties on women's rights, the African Union Protocol to the Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. From an analysis of primary sources and interviews with key participants, we suggest that three factors are crucial for network success: whether a RAN builds alliances with key politicians and civil servants, whether a RAN is able to participate in the decision-making process, and whether a RAN's goals overlap with the target institution's priorities. The broader implication of our study is that scholars seeking to understand the creation of women's rights commitments, the diffusion of women's rights norms, and compliance with women's rights treaties need to look beyond the international and domestic levels of action to include the regional level in their analyses.