UN Cyberschoolbus - HomeUN Cyberschoolbus - Home
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
New York, 1979
Core Treaties  
Treaties you might not expect  


  This Convention, the most comprehensive treaty on women's human rights, establishes legally binding obligations to end discrimination. It provides for equality between women and men in the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. The Convention outlines ways to end discrimination against women by means of law, policy and programs, as well as by temporary special measures to accelerate women's equality, which are defined as non-discriminatory (as with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination).

Key Provisions

  The Convention demands that countries end all forms of discrimination against women, and guarantee their equality with men in political life and in public life, in issues involving nationality, education, employment, health, and economic and social benefits. It also requires countries to eliminate discrimination against women in marriage and family life, and to guarantee that women and men are treated equally before the law. Countries must consider the particular problems of women in rural areas, and the special roles these women play in the economic survival of the family.

  The Convention is the only human rights treaty that affirms women's reproductive rights. It also urges countries to modify social and cultural behaviors of men and women to eliminate prejudices, customs and other practices based on ideas of the inferiority or superiority of either sex, or on stereotyped roles for men and women.

  The Convention establishes the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women as a monitoring body. The Committee, made up of 23 independent experts, considers reports from countries and makes suggestions and general recommendations based on these reports. It directs suggestions to the United Nations system, and general recommendations to countries. As of May 2000, the Committee had adopted 24 general recommendations on such issues as female circumcision, violence against women, and women and health.

The "International Bill of Rights for Women"

1. Covenant on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women

2. Optional protocol to the International Covenant on Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women

UN Cyberschoolbus - Home comments and suggestions: cyberschoolbus@un.org Copyright © 1996- United Nations