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CEDAW: how are the UK and Scottish Governments responding to the recommendations?

The graphic shows a bright green background with black & white left-aligned text that reads "CEDAW Follow-up report". In the top right-hand corner of the graphic there is a picture of the CEDAW Superhero. Along the bottom of the graphic are the logos of the following organisations: Scottish Women's Convention, LGBT Youth Scotland, Zero Tolerance, SCVO, the ALLIANCE, Women's Enterprise Scotland, Women5050, CEMVO, Scottish Women's Aid, Equality Network, Women's Support Project, Together, Scottish Trans Alliance, Close the Gap, Inclusion Scotland, CRER, Rape Crisis Scotland, the Poverty Alliance, One Parent Families Scotland, and Equate Scotland.

During the 8th periodic review of the UK from the Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the UN Bill of Rights for women, several recommendations were made to the UK Government to improve women's equality and rights (find out more about the CEDAW process here).

These recommendations included three specific areas that the UK is meant to feedback their progress on – incorporation of CEDAW, the impacts of Brexit, and an oversight mechanism for women’s participation in CEDAW at UK level. The UK Government has submitted its progress report on these areas, but it didn’t consult with any of the organisations who have been involved with the CEDAW process at UK level (Engender, the Women's Resource Centre, the Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform, and Women’s Equality Network Wales), and it’s fair to say they were wearing their rose-tinted glasses while writing their report.

Engender has, therefore, submitted our own reports to tell the CEDAW Committee what’s really happening for women’s equality and rights in the UK. As with all of our work relating to the CEDAW process, we’ve produced a Scotland report, endorsed by other national organisations, and worked with our colleagues in Wales, Northern Ireland and England to produce a 4-nations report.

In our report, we make a number of recommendations, including:

To the UK Government:

  • Review the effectiveness of gender mainstreaming, and invest in strengthened data collection.
  • Undertake a rigorous and gender-sensitive analysis of the impact of Brexit, including for future trade deals, and review post-Brexit measures regularly.
  • Establish an independent, transparent accountable mechanism to ensure women and women’s organisations, reflecting regionality, diversity and representation across the UK can meaningfully engage with policy making.
  • Implement urgent policies to meet the disproportionate impacts on women, especially young, disabled, Black and minority ethnic women and LGBTQI+ people, alongside Covid-19 recovery plans.
  • Make free childcare available to all parents from birth and invest in the childcare and early years sectors.
  • Ensure gendered, strategic approaches to ending all forms of VAWG, including abolishing the no recourse to public funds policy.

To the Scottish Government

  • Implement the full recommendations from the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls.
  • Develop a social care workforce strategy to reposition care as highly-skilled and appropriately remunerated work
  • Set out how its proposals to ‘keep pace’ with EU law in devolved areas will impact women.
  • Work collaboratively with the women’s sector and civil society to maximise the benefits of CEDAW incorporation, including creating clear processes that enable public bodies to fulfil their legal obligations to women’s equality.
  • Work with violence against women services to ensure a sustainable funding model.

Read the full reports here:

Scotland Report

4 Nations Report

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