RFK Center - Defending Human Rights In This World
  • en
  • it

Anniversaries
December 18: 31st anniversary of Convention protecting women from discrimination

In 1979 the General Assemplby voted in favor of CEDAW ...


December 18 is the anniversary of the adoption, in 1979, of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw),  by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The Convention was conceived and entered into force during the decade for women, sanctioned by the United Nations between 1975 and 1985, during which the feminist movement expanded and the great international agencies for women were created, mainly in developing countries.
The Preamble is immediately a sign of the engagement of the signatory Nations: “Noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the principle of the inadmissibility of discrimination and proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, including distinction based on sex […] Concerned that extensive discrimination against women continues to exist […],  Recalling that discrimination against women violates the principles of equality of rights and respect for human dignity […].

Article 1 of the Convention immediately supplies a definition of discrimination: “the term "discrimination against women" shall mean 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.”

The Convention deals with civil rights and legal status. Differently from other conventions on human rights, it deals also with reproduction. You can find the full text of the Convention in the Docs Center on our website.

We asked Marina Pisklakova, our human rights defender from Russia, what is Cedaw’s relevance and its merit: “The Convention was an important step to recognize specifically Women's Human rights, because prior to that women's discrimination was not visible and obvious for the societies and it gave a responsibility to participating states to change the situation in their countries.”

MMarina deals with the issue of domestic violence and is a leading women’s rights activist at international level. She is one of the defenders interviews by Kerry Kennedy for the “Speak Truth To Power” book who is part of our human rights education program. In regards to the project, Marina recently declared in an interview: “It makes violence against women one of human rights violations and puts the issue at a different level and on the different agenda with governments and communities. Visibility of the issue and opportunity to speak about it, and raise awareness, is really priceless, it has really tremendous value. Because domestic violence really feeds on silence. It’s very good material. To explain and educate. So it is an opportunity for them, both boys and girls, to learn.”

For further information:
Office of the High Comissioner for Human Rights
Committee for the elimination of discrimination against women

FacebookTwitterFlickrYouTube
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner