Measures to eliminate discrimination

The States Parties to CEDAW Convention committed themselves to condemn and eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. As stated in articles 2-5, the States Parties shall take all appropriate measures in all areas of life (political, social, economic, cultural, etc.) to ensure the advancement of women in order to guarantee them full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the basis of gender equality. The means that shall be used to achieve these goals and to eliminate discrimination against women include the following measures:

• introducing new laws,

• establishing tribunals and other public institutions to protect women against discrimination,

• modifying or abolishing existing laws, customs and practices that are discriminating against women;

• introducing sanctions where appropriate to provide women with effective protection against discrimination by any person, organization and enterprise.

• introducing temporary special measures that shall not be considered discrimination if adopted in order to accelerate “de facto equality between men and women”. These special measures shall in no way lead to maintaining “unequal or separate standards” and “shall be discontinued when the objectives of equality of opportunity and treatment have been achieved.” By accepting the Convention the State Parties also committed themselves to taking all appropriate measures to modify social and cultural patterns of social gender roles in order to eliminate prejudices and all kinds of practices based “on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on the stereotyped roles of men and women.”

The CEDAW Convention permits the States to “enter a reservation” at the time of ratification or accession if the reservation is not incompatible with the object and the purpose of the treaty.

This means that States can declare that they will not be bound by certain provisions of the treaty. The information on the reservations entered by the States Parties are available at the website of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.