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Adopted on 19th December, 1979 and came into force 3rd Dec 1981 Its one of the most ratified conventions with 177 states as parties Its a comprehensive bill of rights for women

SPECIFIC OBLIGATIONS OF THE STATES UNDER CEDAW 1. To incorporate the principle of equality and non-discrimination of men and women in the legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and practices and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women 2. Establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination 3. Ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination of women by the public sector as well as by the private sector including persons, organizations or enterprises 4. To implement programs and make relevant institutional arrangements and any other laws necessary that will enable women to exercise their equality rights given in the law 5. To accelerate the achievement of de facto rights by implementing temporary special measures such as affirmative action 6. To eliminate cultural and traditional practices, attitudes including stereotypical roles of women and men

LACK OF COMPREHENSIVE HOLISTIC PLANS There is no evidence of any country that has taken steps to incorporate the principles of CEDAW into municipal legislation making the convention not directly applicable Its provisions have not widely been used in courts and so the ratification of the treaty has not changed the culture of courts

CEDAW IS NOT THE BASIS OF LAW OR POLICY REFORM There are concerns that the principles of the convention are not necessarily used to inform interventions such as law reform

Although there exists national plans for reforms for women in many countries, and gender responsive budget achieved, it is not clear that the norms and standards under CEDAW are being used as a framework. There is also lack of monitoring.

LACK OF CLARITY ON CEDAW AS A HUMAN RIGHTS INSTRUMENT The committee in charge of implementing the provisions of CEDAW is concerned with the replies of the UK expressing the view that the obligations under CEDAW are more programmatic in nature than the European convention on Human Rights and fundamental freedoms and thus difficult to introduce into common law. This was in regard to the the process in the UK to enable devolution of power to the Scottish parliament, the Northern Ireland assembly and the National Assembly for Wales. The committee was concerned that the devolution of powers might result in uneven protection of women PEACEMEAL LAW REFORM AND WEAK IMPLEMENTATION Because of a lack of holistic approach, law reform in one area is sometimes negated by conflicting laws In some countries there are dual or even triple legal system (civil, religious, customary) In India, the constitutional guarantees for equality do not regulate the private sector

PERSISTENCE OF DISCRIMINATION There has not been an attempt to make an inventory of discriminatory laws so as to revise or repeal them In Nigeria there are provisions that promote harmful traditional practices like FGM, aand child marriages In many other countries violence against women is tolerated

RIGHTS NOT EXTENDED TO MINORITY WOMEN OR THROUGHOUT STATES TERRITORIES Governments party to this convention have been unable to fulfill these rights to women from minority and other disadvantaged groups like the Dalits in India, the Maoris in New Zealand or women of ethnic minorities in the UK WEAK REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN There is weak representation of women in decision-making in commonwealth countries both developed and under-developed. Even in New Zealand, women are

poorly represented in parliament and do not hold adequate positions as chief executive in the public sector. WEAK REPORTING AND LACK OF DATA COLLECTION Reporting is done late and there is lack of adequate data collection for M&E purposes Consequently there is is no monitoring of the effects of the laws, policies and programs, no indication of the realization of the de facto rights and no knowledge of obstacles to their realization

WEAK INSTITUTIONS As much as there are improvements in the infrastructure of national machineries in all countries concerned, these remain largely weak Institutional arrangements for promoting womens rights lack the required technical capacity or do not have the required influence to be taken seriously

Gender-based violence takes place in various forms; it can be categorized into five main categories I. II. III. IV. V. Sexual violence- e.g. rape, incest, forced prostitution and sexual harassment Physical violence e.g. wife battering, female infanticide, child assault by teachers etc Emotional and psychological violence e.g. threats of violence, insults and name calling, insults in front of others, blackmail etc Harmful traditional practices e.g. FGM, denial of certain foods, early/forced marriages. Socio-economic violence- discriminatory access to health care, low levels of literacy and education attainment, inadequate shelter and food, armed conflict and acts of terrorism.

INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE Perpetuated either by current or former intimate male partners Forty percent of all female infanticide victims are killed by their intimate partners in the UK

Thousands others suffer dowry-related deaths while others are disfigured by rejected suitors by having acid thrown on their faces Sexual assault by a partner is experienced by between 12-25% of women at some point in their lives

VIOLENCE AGAINST GIRLS Studies in Africa indicate that girls first sexual experience is often unwanted and frequently forced 36-62% of all sexual assault victims are aged 15 years or less (WHO 1997) The younger a girl is at first sexual experience the more likely that sex is forced.

HARMFUL TRADITIONAL PRACTICES Estimates show that 130 million women and girls mainly in Africa, middle east and Asia have undergone some form of FGM Early marriages also exposes girls to physical violation and trauma and greater risks during pregnancy and childbirth

SEX WORK AND TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN AND GIRLS Women take sex work because they have no other way of supporting themselves or their children Sex work in itself may be as a result of violence Sex work exposes women to further physical violence and rape especially where it is proscribed by law. In a survey in Bangladesh, 83% of the prostitute had been raped and 91% had been beaten by police (WHO 1997) The international Organization for Migration estimates that 700 000 women are transported, mostly involuntarily, across international borders each year for sex trade


Women and girls are often systematically targeted for abuse, rape and sexual assault Rape has deliberately been used as a weapon of war in many conflicts Women and girls make up 75% of the worlds 22 million refugees, asylum seekers or IDPs. This puts them in risks of gender-based violence

GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND HIV/AIDS Women are exposed to HIV/AIDS because they lack control over their sexual lives and methods of controlling HIV and other STIs This does not only occur for women who are sexually assaulted but also those in relationships where they are unable to negotiate condom use with their partners