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 treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979. It is often described as an international bill of rights for women and is considered a landmark agreement in the fight for gender equality.

CEDAW is composed of a preamble and 30 articles that outline the rights of women and provide a framework for eliminating discrimination against them. The convention defines discrimination against women as “any distinction, exclusion, or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment, or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil, or any other field.”

Some of the key principles and rights enshrined in CEDAW include:

  1. Equality before the law and equal protection of rights without discrimination.
  2. The right to participate in political and public life.
  3. The right to education and access to vocational training.
  4. The right to work and access to employment opportunities.
  5. The right to equal remuneration and conditions of work.
  6. The right to health care, including reproductive health.
  7. The right to marriage and family life.
  8. The right to be free from gender-based violence.

CEDAW requires states that are party to the convention to take legislative, administrative, and other measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all areas of life. States are also required to submit periodic reports on their progress in implementing the convention to the CEDAW Committee, which is a body of independent experts responsible for monitoring its implementation.

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, CEDAW has been ratified by 189 countries, making it one of the most widely ratified human rights treaties. However, it’s worth noting that the implementation and enforcement of CEDAW’s provisions can vary among different countries, and challenges in achieving full gender equality still exist globally.

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