International Equality Standards
CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, adopted by the United Nations in 1979, was the first convention to comprehensively address women’s rights within political, economic, social, cultural and family life. According to its preamble, CEDAW is intended to be transformative. It recognises that “a change in the traditional role of men as well as the role of women in society and in the family is needed to achieve full equality between men and women”. CEDAW addresses indirect as well as direct discrimination, and promotes positive action. It does not reflect the old hierarchy between civil and political rights on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights on the other.
CEDAW has great weight as a tool to demand political accountability for states’ obligations under human rights agreements. One way this is achieved is by governments reporting to the CEDAW Committee on progress in the implementation of the Convention.
Click here for the Concluding Comments of the CEDAW Committee’s examination of the UK government in 2008
UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on ‘Women, Peace and Security’ (2000) mandates countries emerging from conflict to include women in all peace-keeping and peace-building measures. The UK government, despite intense lobbying, refuses to apply UNSCR 1325 to Northern Ireland, although we remain a society coming out of conflict and in real need of greater numbers of women in all levels of decision making.
Angela Hegarty: Briefing on the legal status of 1325
WRDA director in Liberia April 2010
WRDA director at Vienna seminar March 2009
WRDA director at Salzburg Seminar September 2008