International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

CEDAW is an international agreement which list the rights of all women and encourages real equality between girls/women and boys/men. In some parts of the world, women are treated unfairly because of being female. They may not get proper education or health care. Women may not be able to get jobs, vote or run for elections.

In extending CEDAW to St Helena, our government agrees to do everything possible to guarantee the rights in CEDAW, including making them a part of our laws. They will have a duty to end discrimination faced by women here.

Rights Protected

For example women will, in time have the following rights protected:

  • Equal pay for equal work;
  • Protection from discrimination due to pregnancy, childbirth and child raising;
  • Maternity leave/ pay;
  • Live free from gender stereotyping;
  • Live free from sexual harassment;

Why care about CEDAW?

CEDAW helps women of every age to claim their rights. Even though CEDAW mainly refers to ‘women’ and not ‘girls’, CEDAW helps girls to claim their rights at all stages of life. If a girl learns how to claim her rights while she is still a child, she is more likely to be able to enjoy her rights as a woman.

Why should boys and men care about CEDAW?

When women exercise their rights, it benefits everyone including men. Educated, healthy and skilled women and men come together to build a better future themselves, their families, communities and nations.

When men support women to claim their rights, they have better relationships with girls and women in their lives. Boys and men can support women in realizing their rights in many ways. In their homes, schools and communities, men can change attitudes and behavior towards women. Men can also make women feel safe, encouraged ad supported to assert the rights that CEDAW says they have.

What does CEDAW actually say?

CEDAW has 30 articles that explain what girl’s and women’s rights are and what governments should do to end discrimination against them.

  • Article 1: Discrimination against women means directly or indirectly treating women differently from men in a way which prevents them from enjoying their rights.
  • Article 2: Policy measures. Government must not allow discrimination against women. There must be laws and policies to protect them from any discrimination. All national laws and policies must be based on equality of women and men. There should be punishment for not following the law.
  • Article 3: Guarantee of basic human rights and freedoms. Governments must take actions in all fields- political, social, economic, and cultural- to ensure women can enjoy basic human rights and freedoms.
  • Article 4: Special measures. Governments should take special actions to end discrimination against women. The special actions that favour women are not a way of discriminating against men. They are meant to speed up equality between women and men. These specific measures should last until equality between men and women are achieved.
  • Article 5: Roles based on stereotypes. Governments must work to change stereotypes about women and men, especially if these roles are based on men being considered better than women.
  • Article 6: Trafficking and prostitution. Governments must take action, including making new laws, to end trafficking and prostitution of women.
  • Article 7:Political and public life. Women have the same right to vote and be elected to government positions. Women have the right to take part in the decisions a government makes and the way it carries it out. They have the right to participate in non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
  • Article 8: Participation at the international level. Women have the right to represent their country at the international level and to participate in the work of international organizations [such as the United Nations, the European Union, among many others].

%d bloggers like this: