Convention of the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
On 18 December 1979, the UN Convention on Women was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) requires states that have ratified the convention, to make their own regulations non-discriminatory and to ensure that other parties (business, political parties, etc.) do not discriminate against women. The prohibition of discrimination is specified in the first articles of the Treaty. Furthermore, it contains provisions that further define the equal rights of women in many areas, including political and public administration, labour and income, education, health, nationality, marriage and family life.
By now, 189 countries have ratified the treaty. The Netherlands did so in 1991.
The CEDAW Committee (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women) monitors compliance with the Women’s Convention. Every four years, states that have ratified the convention have to answer to the committee about what they have done to combat discrimination against women and to improve their position.
Netwerk VN-Vrouwenverdrag (Dutch network on the Cedaw treaty)
The UN Women’s Convention Network is a broadly-based platform in which women’s and human rights organisations work together, with the aim of monitoring the implementation of the UN Women’s Convention in the Netherlands. The Network’s main profile is on the UN Women’s Convention itself and its important role is to coordinate the creation of the shadow report for the CEDAW Committee. This report contains information on compliance with the Convention from the point of view of civil society and is therefore a critical note on the government’s report. The Network is also involved in lobbying for information on the handling of Dutch government reports by CEDAW, and is committed to good national reporting on CEDAW. If possible and relevant, the Network provides input for the shadow reports for other UN treaties.
The objectives of the UN Women’s Convention Network are
1. Promoting the dissemination of information and expertise on the UN Women’s Convention
2. Lobbying for the proper implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
3. Joint creation of shadow reports
In the General Recommendations, the CEDAW committee provides further clarification of the various treaty articles, providing treaty states with points of departure for the proper implementation of the Women’s Convention.