The new development framework aspires to merge long-term hopes for environmental, political and financial sustainability with international poverty eradication goals. Central to this agenda is the promotion and protection of the human rights of women and girls. Yet national mechanisms, donors and international development agencies often do not fully tackle these issues or confront the accompanying politically sensitive, complex issues intermingling religion, socioeconomic status, social, cultural and family life. The increasing reliance on private investment may further weaken a women's rights approach. The proposed framework described in the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons Report could further systematize this problem, even though it improves on the MDGs by expanding targets related to women. Success will require support for a potent mix of advocacy, movement building and a complex set of ground-based strategies that shift cultural practices, laws and policies that harm women and girls. Funding for advocacy and interventions that hold firm on human rights is imperative, but given the conflicting loyalties of governments and public-private partnerships, reliance on either sector may be risky. An analysis of the status of women's rights work, infrastructure and donor support in Bangladesh and South Africa shows the need for vigilance and long-term investment in effective work.