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Reviews and Events for Women’s Human Rights and Migration Book

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Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Associate Dean of International Affairs of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, states in the Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law that “Women’s Human Rights and Migration: Sex Selective Abortion Laws in the United States in India, addresses a long-existing gap in feminist theory at the intersection of a migrant woman’s experience and culturally motivated reproductive decisions.”

Aziza Ahmed, Northeastern University School of Law Professor, in the Nordic Journal of Human Rights, reviews Professor Kalantry’s “novel, insightful and controversial” transnational legal feminist approach to addressing sex-selective abortion laws in the United States and India.

Anuja Agrawal, Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Delhi, in the International Feminist Journal of Politics says “This book is an important new contribution to the emerging field of transnational legal feminist scholarship. It seeks to fill the gaps in existing legal and policy frameworks that are increasingly called upon to address issues which arise in countries with significant migrant populations.”

Sherry Colb, Cornell Law School Professor, in Verdict says “Like most good books, Kalantry’s not only taught me a new way to think about an area that I thought I had already understood; it also inspired me to think about a completely different area in a new way as well.”

Vikrant Panchnanda, advocate in India, in the India Law Journal, notes that Kalantry “aptly presents a quantitative empirical analysis of sex ratios to determine whether Asian American sex-select (while at the same time critiquing this methodology) and conduct a political analysis of the sex-selective abortion bills in state legislatures.”

Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum, Cardozo School of Law Assistant Clinical Professor, in the International Journal of Legal Information, states “Kalantry makes a significant contribution to the debate on sex selective abortion bans, offering a critical, contextual feminist lens and evidentiary basis for judges and policymakers to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of such policies on women’s rights. All U.S. policymakers who are concerned with the impact of their policymaking on the rights of women and girls should read this book for a theoretically sound, evidence-based and contextually rich analysis of highly politicized women’s rights issues.”

Life of the Law, included in bi-weekly newsletter, June 28, 2017

Human Rights At Home Blog, book mention, June 21, 2017

Read op-eds by the author of Women’s Rights and Migration

American Society of International Law, op-ed on veil bans in the European Court of Human Rights, December 12, 2017

New York Times, op-ed on India’s sex selection problem, July 27, 2017

Ms. Magazine, op-ed on challenging the narrative on sex-selective abortion bans, August 25, 2017

India Abroad, op-ed on stereotypes against Indian Americans in legislatures across the U.S., July 31, 2017

Watch video commentary on Women’s Rights and Migration

Sital Kalantry commentary on Women’s Rights and Migration during India book launch (starts 15 minutes into the program)

Justice Mittal commentary on Women’s Rights and Migration during India book launch (starts 31 minutes into the program)

Sital Kalantry gives overview of Women’s Rights and Migration

Hila Shamir commentary on Women’s Rights and Migration

Sherry Colb commentary on Women’s Rights and Migration

Sonia Katyal commentary on Women’s Rights and Migration

Read and listen to interviews of the author

Brown Girl Magazine, interview on book’s sex-selection research, December 14, 2017

Voice of America Radio, The Kathryn Zox Show radio interview, December 13, 2017

The Times of India, interview on book’s research, July 23, 2017

Events for Women’s Rights and Migration

India book launch event with Guest of Honor Justice Gita Mittal, acting chief judge of the Delhi High Court, December 10, 2017. See pictures from the event here.

Cornell Law School holds a conference on Women’s Rights and Migration book, October 6, 2017. See pictures from the event here.

Cornell Law School, book release celebration, October 6, 2017

Awards for Women’s Rights and Migration

2018 Winner of the Best Academic Press Eric Hoffer Book Award

Description and Praise for Recent Book on Women’s Human Rights and Migration

Some of the most hotly contested international women’s rights issues today arise from the movement of peoples from one country to another and the practices they purportedly bring with them. In Women’s Human Rights and Migration, Sital Kalantry focuses on immigrants of Asian descent living in the United States who are believed to abort female fetuses because they do not want a female child. While sex-selective abortion is a human rights concern in India, should we, for that reason, assume that the practice undermines women’s equality in the United States? Although some pro-choice feminists believe that these prohibitions on sex-selective abortion promote women’s equality, other feminists fiercely oppose such laws, characterizing them as a Trojan horse in the larger pursuit to overturn the reproductive rights guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. Nearly half of state legislatures in the United States have proposed laws restricting sex-selective abortion since 2009 and nine have adopted them.

Kalantry argues that traditional feminist legal theories and international human rights law fail to provide adequate guidance in examining the human rights implications of the reproductive practices of immigrant women, evidenced by the fact that both supporters and opponents ground their claims in women’s equality. She advocates instead for a context-based approach that is open to the possibility that sex-selective abortion practices will have significantly different human rights implications when they emerge in different national contexts. The product of extensive empirical and interdisciplinary research, Kalantry’s book investigates the actual occurrence of sex-selective abortion among Asian Americans, the social and cultural contexts in which women in the United States and India practice sex-selective abortion, and the consequences of the laws in each country for women’s equality. Women’s Human Rights and Migration develops a transnational feminist legal approach to examining and legislating contested acts that result from migration.


Women’s Human Rights and Migration offers an important intervention in feminist theory, social change literature, and reproductive rights literature. Sital Kalantry conducts a sensitive investigation of women’s motives and contexts, combined with a sophisticated theoretical call for contextual feminist analysis.”—Hila Shamir, Tel Aviv University

“Sital Kalantry’s trenchant and compelling book demonstrates how current debates regarding reproduction, when analyzed with a critical, global lens, reveal the shortcomings of traditional narratives surrounding women’s rights.”—Sonia Katyal, University of California, Berkeley

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