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The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is a human rights framework of the UN which is exclusively devoted to gender equality. It's often referred to as the ‘women’s bill of rights’, and it spells out women’s right to equality and non-discrimination. The UK is signed up to CEDAW, and so the Government should comply with what it says about women's equality. You can find out more about CEDAW below.

In 2018 Engender worked to produce a shadow report on CEDAW, to highlight key issues for women's rights in Scotland. We also coordinated a four-nations response with colleagues from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This report was then updated in 2019 and submitted to the UN CEDAW Committee in advance of the CEDAW examination in Feb 2019.

Read our 2019 Scotland CEDAW report here.

Read the 2019 four nations CEDAW report here.

What is CEDAW?

You can also read our Frequently Asked Questions to find out more about CEDAW and how Engender is involved and see a simplified version of what CEDAW says about women's rights here.

Engender's CEDAW work has been funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and they have a great guide to the CEDAW process here.

Why is CEDAW so important for women?

CEDAW is a really important tool for women's equality in a number of ways:

  • It provides a complete definition of sex-based discrimination as something which impairs women’s social, cultural, political and economic rights.
  • CEDAW recognises that traditional gender roles and stereotypes have to be eliminated if we are to be successful in ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls.
  • CEDAW says that real equality means looking at women’s lives and the condition of their lives as a measure of whether equality has been achieved.
  • CEDAW holds governments to account to respect, protect and fulfil women’s human rights. It does this by investigating and making recommendations to governments to address gender inequality. You can find out what the CEDAW Committee said about the UK in 2013 here.

Views on CEDAW

CEDAW superheroThroughout spring 2018, Engender worked in a number of ways to gather people's views about women's rights and CEDAW. These included an online survey, webinars, events, and a resource pack to help people hold their own discussions.

We also asked organisations working in Scotland to tell us what they think about women's rights by answering our Call for Evidence. You can see some of their responses here.

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