The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women
(CEDAW) 1979: aka the “international bill of rights for women.”
It defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.
185 countries (over 90% of the UN) are parties to this legally binding treaty; the US signed it in 1980 but has not ratified
it yet so is therefore not bound to the provisions. Each signatory has to submit national reports. For more information...
Fourth World Conference
of Women, FWCW (Beijing Declaration), 1995: Recognized that women’s rights are human rights and therefore
affirmed its commitment to equal rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It declared that eradication
of poverty and other social issues must be addressed with the equal participation of women and men. For more information...
Beijing Declaration Platform
for Action: specifically identifies 12 critical issues
that concern women’s empowerment, and calls for actors to achieve those objectives. The twelve critical issues:
persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women
and inadequacies in and unequal access to education and training
and inadequacies in and unequal access to health care and related services
effects of armed or other kinds of conflict on women, including those living under foreign occupation
in economic structures and policies, in all forms of productive activities and in access to resources
between men and women in the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels
mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of women
of respect for and inadequate promotion and protection of the human rights of women
of women and inequality in women's access to and participation in all communication systems, especially in the media
inequalities in the management of natural resources and in the safeguarding of the environment
discrimination against and violation of the rights of the girl child
The Outcome Document (Res
23-3) by the General Assembly (GA)
Describes how to implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
It notes achievements and obstacles to the 12 critical issues that concern women’s empowerment from the Platform for
Action. Overall the document recognizes new obstacles to implementing the Platform for action such as decreased political
commitment, the adverse effects of globalization, a lack of equal access and training to new technologies, changing migratory
flows of labor, progression of the AIDs epidemic and so on. It resolves to call upon all organizations at every level (international,
state, civil society) to recommit and address these obstacles.
(IV, section A) At the national level, states should
set clear objectives and goals…
(IV, section B) At the national level (NGOs and
civil society) states should provide civil society with the tools to advocate for women’s rights, encourage collaboration
(IV, section C) At the international level (UN and
other international and regional organizations) assist governments in implementation, support NGOs, allocate sufficient resources,
provide gender-sensitive training to all actors..
(IV, section D) At the international level (i.e.
governments) promote international cooperation, promote/improve/collect data disaggregated by sex on social issues, encourage
and support public awareness campaigns…
Millennium Declaration &
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Eight
broad goals that are agreed upon by every country and the world’s leading development institutions. Each of these issues
affects women and must be addressed with women at the forefront for advocating progress.
extreme poverty and hunger
by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
universal primary education
that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling
gender equality and empower women
gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five
by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AID
and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources
by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water
significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020
a global partnership for development.
further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory, includes a commitment
to good governance, development and poverty reduction— nationally and internationally
the least developed countries' special needs. This includes tariff- and quota-free access for their exports; enhanced debt
relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development
assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction
the special needs of landlocked and small island developing States
comprehensively with developing countries' debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable
in the long term
cooperation with the developing countries, develop decent and productive work for youth
cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies— especially information and communications