Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Olivier Bercault

Second Advisor

Karen Bouwer


My research aims to shed light on the injustices that women and girls are facing in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Furthermore, my research intends to reveal how international human rights law and human rights law are confronting these violations and show the shortcomings of these laws. Women in SSA have continued to be at the forefront of devastation due to their exposure to gender-based violence (GBV) such as rape (including marital rape), domestic violence, femicide, “feminization” of HIV/AIDS, early/child marriage, and maternal mortality, in addition to lack of access to proper and sufficient reproductive health care. I will use women’s rights and human rights discourses to discuss and analyze the interrelationships between power, patriarchy, Western hegemony, and gender oppression. I will examine a case study of child/early marriage practices in Nigeria and the prevalence of obstetric fistula cases in these young girls to show the severity of human rights violations in SSA. Child marriage is a global issue and a fundamental human rights violation that is rooted in gender inequality. I will use this case study to critique the shortcomings of international human rights law and, most importantly, to advocate for women’s rights. Moreover, my intentions are to promote women’s empowerment and the obtaining of control over their sexual and reproductive health rights.