The Women's Rights Recommendations and Compliance Database offers nuanced data about the types of recommendations international human rights organizations make to member states and how and why states implement those recommendations.
This data focuses on three recommendation-issuing international institutions: the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). It covers the years between 2007 and 2016 and extends to all of the countries in the Council of Europe.
Objectives of the Women's Rights Recommendations and Compliance Database
- To inform scholars, policy-makers, and activists about what recommendations states receive and how and why they comply with those recommendations.
- To empower practitioners to use this information to craft more effective recommendations and responses.
- To inspire scholars to ask new and nuanced questions about the international human rights recommendation process and state compliance.
Development of the Women’s Rights Recommendations and Compliance database was led by:
Jillienne Haglund: Jillienne Haglund, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Kentucky. She is the author of Regional Courts, Domestic Politics, and the Struggle for Human Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2021) as well as Violence Against Women and the Law (Routledge, 2015).
Courtney Hillebrecht: Courtney Hillebrecht, Ph.D., is the Samuel Clark Waugh Distinguished Professor of International Relations at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the author of Saving the International Justice Regime: Beyond Backlash Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and Domestic Politics and International Human Rights Tribunals: The Problem of Compliance (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
This work was funded by the National Science Foundation (Award #1823771). Ms. Hannah Roesch Read was an indispensable graduate student researcher on this project. We are incredibly grateful for her expertise and leadership.
Questions about the database or methodology can be directed to
To create the Women's Rights Recommendation and Compliance Database, we relied on primary source documents from CEDAW, the UPR, and the ECtHR and worked with a team of researchers to hand-coded these documents for recommendation quality and compliance.
To create the recommendation quality data, we used three primary types of documents: (1) concluding observation reports and individual petitions from CEDAW; (2) the UPR-info.org recommendation database; and (3) the ECtHR's case-law database, HUDOC. Once we gathered all of these documents, we then focused on those recommendations pertaining to violence against women and women's economic rights.
The coding team evaluated each recommendation on two dimensions: action and precision. Action refers to the nature of the obligation and what it asks of states, e.g. making changes to domestic law, engaging in an public education campaign, or ratifying a treaty, among others.
Precision refers to how directive the recommendations are and is divided into three categories: passive, guided and directive. Does the recommendation provide clear instructions about which steps, exactly, a state must take (directive)? Is the recommendation vague or ambiguous (passive)? Or, does the recommendation fall somewhere in the middle, offering some guidelines but lacking clear instructions (guided)?
To code compliance with each of these recommendations, we relied on source documents from each of the human rights institutions. We used the CEDAW concluding observation reports to evaluate compliance with CEDAW's recommendations in the previous review cycle. For the UPR recommendations, we used states' self-reports at during their subsequent review. For the ECtHR, we relied on the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers' meeting notes, which outline the steps states take toward compliance.
We again relied on a team of researchers to code this data. The researchers coded each document using a rubric that evaluates the process of compliance. We understand compliance to be a process that consists of the following stages: consideration, delegation, execution and compliance. The coders evaluated each action that states took in response to recommendation according that rubric. Instances in which states took no actions were coded as inaction. In cases where states or the institutions did not mention compliance of any sort, we coded compliance as "no mention."
Our codebook, available above, provides detailed information and sample coding rubrics for all of our coding.