Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women


The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is an international human rights treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979. CEDAW is often referred to as the international bill of rights for women.

CEDAW aims to eliminate discrimination against women in all areas of life, including political, economic, social, cultural, and civil domains. The convention recognizes that discrimination against women violates principles of equality and fundamental human rights.

Key provisions of CEDAW include:

  1. Definition of discrimination: CEDAW defines discrimination against women as any distinction, exclusion, or restriction based on sex that has the effect of impairing or nullifying women’s enjoyment of rights on an equal basis with men.
  2. Equal rights and opportunities: CEDAW promotes equal rights for women in various spheres, including political participation, education, employment, health care, and access to justice. It emphasizes the need to eliminate stereotypes and prejudices that perpetuate discrimination against women.
  3. Legal protections: The convention calls on states to adopt legislation and take measures to eliminate discrimination against women. This includes ensuring women’s equal rights in areas such as marriage and family law, property rights, and access to credit and loans.
  4. Temporary special measures: CEDAW acknowledges that temporary special measures may be necessary to accelerate gender equality. These measures aim to promote women’s representation in decision-making positions and address historical disadvantages faced by women.
  5. Reporting and monitoring: States that ratify CEDAW are required to submit periodic reports on the steps taken to implement the convention. The reports are reviewed by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, an expert body that monitors compliance with CEDAW.

CEDAW has been ratified by 189 countries, making it one of the most widely accepted human rights treaties. However, its implementation varies among countries, and challenges persist in achieving full gender equality worldwide. The convention continues to serve as a crucial framework for advocating women’s rights and holding governments accountable for their commitments to gender equality.

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