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The What: CEDAW

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly.

Described as an international bill of rights for women, it was instituted on September 3, 1981 and has been ratified by 189 member states. The United States of America has still not ratified CEDAW as it currently sits in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

CEDAW defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination using a preamble and 30 articles.

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.”

When United Nations member states adopt CEDAW they agree to:

  • incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system by abolishing all discriminatory laws and adopting appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women
  • establish tribunals, committees, or other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination
  • ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations, or enterprises.

CEDAW and your company

Yes, this is high level policy. We understand. But it is not out of reach.

CEDAW does not have to be only for member states. We’ve seen it adopted by cities, counties, NGOS, and other civil society groups. Its framework can be adopted by companies, too.

Afterall, CEDAW is a commitment to gender equality, and one that is tried and true by United Nations member states. See what CEDAW can do for your company today!