Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Anthony Leisner


Evidence suggests that despite repeated mandates by the United Nations (UN) for gender equality, local gender justice for girls has been elusive. Conceptually drawn from Merry's human rights-cultural particularism dissonance and Sen's comparative justice theories, the purpose of this grounded theory study, supported by Clarke's situational analysis, was to investigate how local religious and cultural practices impedes a gender equality outcome for girls. The primary research question involved identifying characteristics and situations of actors who focused solely on gender, culture, and human rights issues at the international and national level. A qualitative research design was used in this study of 8 experts in gender, human rights, and cultural issues who were interviewed in-depth in person and on the telephone. A line-by-line analysis of participants' responses identified specific sub theme situations related to the study that included sociocultural, socioeconomic, and intercultural elements. In addition, open and selected coding of participants' responses uncovered critical gender related themes that included democracy, political governance, and fatherhood responsibility. Implications for social change include indentifying a gender justice approach to human rights in which to implement integrated gender focused programs advocated by civil society and the UN to fill gaps left by governments. The findings suggest that obtaining children human rights is a function of the effect of a girl's access to gender justice and a culture's response to social development with an outcome of gender equality. This can result in advancement of gender justice, which research indicates can substantially improve local and global communities socially, economically, and politically.