Committee on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women
19 October 1993
COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN Thirteenth session New York, 17 January-4 February 1994 Item 4 of the Provisional Agenda* *CEDAW/C/1994/1. IMPLEMENTATION OF ARTICLE 21 OF THE CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN Reports provided by specialized agencies of the United Nations on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activities Note by the Secretary-General Addendum UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION Introductory note On behalf of the Committee, the Secretariat has invited the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), on 22 June 1993, to submit to the Committee, by 1 September 1993, a report on information provided by States to UNESCO on the implementation of article 10 and related articles of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which would supplement the information contained in the reports of those States parties to the Convention which will be considered at the thirteenth session. These are the latest reports of Barbados, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Japan, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Senegal and Zambia. Other information sought by the Committee refers to the activities, programmes and policy decision undertaken by UNESCO to promote the implementation of article 10 and related articles of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The report annexed hereto has been submitted in compliance with the Committee's request. Annex [Original: French] REPORT OF UNESCO TO THE COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN AT ITS THIRTEENTH SESSION NEW YORK, 17 JANUARY - 4 FEBRUARY 1994* CONTENTS Paragraphs Page GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1-3 4 I. SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES WITH A VIEW 4 4 TO THE DISSEMINATION OF THE CONVENTIO ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN II. ANALYSIS AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES 5 4 CONCERNING THE CONVENTION AND IN PARTICULAR CONCERNING THE ARTICLES RELATING TO THE FAMILY III. COMMENTS ON ARTICLES 7 AND 8 6-11 5 OF THE CONVENTION IV. INFORMATION CONCERNING ARTICLE 10 12 6 OF THE CONVENTION FOR THE COUNTRIES WHOSE REPORTS ARE SUBMITTED AT THE THIRTEENTH SESSION *This report has been reproduced in the form in which it was received. GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1. In accordance with article 22 of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, specialized agencies are encouraged to submit a report on the implementation of the Convention in their areas of competence. Accordingly, it the Committee has asked UNESCO to submit comments on article 10 and its application in the countries whose report will be presented at the thirteenth session. Moreover, the Committee has decided to study in greater detail at each of its sessions some articles of the Convention. The thirteenth session will be devoted to articles 7 and 8. 2. Overall, it may be stated that all UNESCO activities have a part in the implementation of the Convention. Accordingly, UNESCO wishes to communicate to the members of the Committee its last activity report, which relates to the years 1992 and 1993. That document, which bears the symbol 25 C/20 UNESCO, is the document that will be submitted by the Director-General to the UNESCO General Conference at its twenty-seventh session. 3. Furthermore, UNESCO wishes to provide some information with regard to the items of the agenda of the thirteenth session. I. SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES WITH A VIEW TO THE DISSEMINATION OF THE CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN 4. Since the twelfth session of the Committee on the Prevention of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), UNESCO has strengthened its activities at the regional level with a view to ensuring recognition of the principles and concepts adopted by the international community with regard to the legal equality of men and women in public and private life. Thus, special emphasis should be placed on the work of Collectif 95 Maghreb Egalit, which was established in 1991 with the support of UNESCO in order to make the public, Non-Governmental Organizations and political decision-makers more aware of activities aimed at the recognition and effective implementation of the principle of the equality of men and women. Collectif 95 Maghreb Egalit was established at the conclusion of a meeting of Maghreb feminist associations, researchers, intellectuals and creative persons. The purpose of Collectif 95 Maghreb Egalit is to coordinate and promote a programme of action for the preparation of the fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995). The objectives of Collectif 95 Maghreb Egalit are to publicize at the international level the actions of Maghreb NGOs with a view to the attainment of full citizenship for women; to exert pressure at the level of the structures of the Arab Maghreb Union, national Governments, organized bodies and civil society for the ratification and implementation of international instruments, in particular the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; to prepare, in a unitary approach, reports on the status of women; and to elaborate, through broad consultation in the Maghreb, proposals for achieving the legal equality of men and women. The documents which will be presented at the forum of the fourth World Conference on Women are: a white paper on the status of international law relating to women in the Maghreb countries, a unified egalitarian code for the Maghreb, reports on the implementation of the Nairobi strategies and proposals for action for the year 2000. II. ANALYSIS AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES CONCERNING THE CONVENTION AND IN PARTICULAR CONCERNING THE ARTICLES RELATING TO THE FAMILY 5. As part of the preparations for the World Conference on Human Rights held at Vienna (June 1993), studies were conducted, in collaboration with institutions working for human rights and for the protection of women's rights in African and Arab countries with regard to the obstacles to the ratification or implementation of the Convention. From the studies undertaken it appears that by the second quarter of 1993 only 22 African countries and 5 Arab countries had ratified the Convention. In general, African countries have not expressed any substantive reservations, but they have expressed some procedural reservations. The Arab countries as a group expressed substantive reservations, in particular with regard to the articles on marriage and the family. It must be emphasized that the reservations expressed by Tunisia have no implications that could make the convention devoid of meaning, in the light of the advanced state of Tunisian legislation on women's rights, a circumstance not always found in the other signatory countries. In any event, in almost all the African and Arab countries studied, whose legislation with respect to private law is based in large measure on Islamic law both in the countries which have ratified the Convention and in those which have not done so, it has been possible to observe a number of laws and common practices which constitute obstacles to the principle of the equality of men and women in the family. On the basis of these studies, one can enunciate a number of recommendations aimed at reconciling the legislation of those countries with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: (a) Codifying the laws relating to the family and drafting a positive family code in the countries in which no such code exists; (b) Limiting the legal age of marriage; (c) Recognizing the freedom of spouses to marry on the basis of personal choice, of consent which is free, direct and personal; (d) Establishing a marriage contract between the two parties without recourse to a guardian for the woman when she is of age under civil law; (e) Recording marriages in an official register and solemnizing them before a civil registry officer and in the presence of witnesses; (f) Abolishing polygamy; (g) Instituting parental responsibility instead of paternal responsibility; (h) Substituting the rule of mutual respect for the rule of a wife's obedience to her husband; (i) Recognizing both parents as having the same rights and obligations with regard to: (i) name and nationality; (ii) custody and guardianship; (iii) decision-making with regard to upbringing, birth spacing and birth control; (j) Granting status to mothers irrespective of their marital status and to their children irrespective of whether they were born in wedlock or out of wedlock; (k) Establishing judicial divorce; (l) Ensuring equality in matters of inheritance; (m) Guaranteeing women the right to buy, sell and manage their property and resources independently. III. COMMENTS ON ARTICLES 7 AND 8 OF THE CONVENTION 6. Articles 7 and 8 relate to women's participation in political life and in decision-making. Women's participation in political life is one of the essential conditions for the democratization of life in societies. The conditions for this participation are complex and are linked to the broader phenomenon of modernity in societies. 7. UNESCO, in collaboration with Yemen, organized at San'a, Yemen, from 13 to 18 April 1993, a meeting of experts on the theme of "Arab women, modernity and democracy" (the Interregional Meeting of Experts on Women and the Democratization Process). Experts from Yemen and from three Maghreb countries (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) conducted a discussion on women's place and on the question of equality between men and women in social, economic and political life and in the processes of democratization and modernization which are going on in those countries. 8. That meeting brought together 30 experts and about 100 male and female Yemeni observers representing the world of associations and the intellectual and scientific community at the very time when Yemen was engaged in the first legislative election to campaign in the reunified country, and that very special context no doubt contributed to the general interest aroused by our meeting. Among the Yemeni participants, four of the 50 candidates standing for office in the elections participated in the debate B . 9. The discussions at that meeting, which emphasized that there was a great diversity between the situations of the four countries concerned, also cited some data which are more general and are no doubt universal today: first of all, the slow pace of women's progress towards gaining their rights and achieving equality, and, secondly, the decisive place occupied by the gaining of those rights in the process of democratization, both in countries with Arab-Islamic culture and civilization and in the other parts of the world which have the same aspirations today. 10. Moreover, that meeting of Yemeni and Maghrebi women demonstrated, both in the case of Yemen and in the case of the Maghreb countries, that women's participation is necessary for setting in motion the social dynamics represented by modernity, which increasingly appears to be inseparable from the process of democratization and is related to a collection of elements which go beyond material and technical modernization. 11. For that reason, while the role of States in the accomplishment of economic and social tasks and in the guaranteeing of a State based on law, the only kind of State that makes possible the enjoyment of recognized rights, is important, the action of civil society, and in particular the fundamental role played by the intellectual and scientific community in those countries has been recognized as decisive. IV. INFORMATION CONCERNING ARTICLE 10 OF THE CONVENTION FOR THE COUNTRIES WHOSE REPORTS ARE SUBMITTED AT THE THIRTEENTH SESSION: BARBADOS, BOLIVIA, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, GUATEMALA, GUYANA, HUNGARY, JAPAN, LIBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA, MADAGASCAR, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NORWAY, PERU, SENEGAL AND ZAMBIA 12. The following tables show the statistics on the education of girls in the countries mentioned. It should be borne in mind that UNESCO is the depositary of the December 1960 Convention against Discrimination in Education, ratified by 76 States. It should also be borne in mind that the Convention on Technical and Vocational Education, adopted on 10 November 1989, reaffirms in its preamble the need to make a special effort to promote the technical and vocational education of women and girls and, in its article 3, provides that the signatory States should endeavour to guarantee the two sexes equality of access and opportunity throughout the educational process. With regard to the countries whose reports will be examined at the thirteenth session, the following tables present statistics on education, science, technology and illiteracy. Table 1 Gross rates of enrolment in Pre-primary education* (per cent) Overall rate Rate for males Rate for females Africa Libyan Arab inconsistent data Jamahiriya Madagascar inconsistent data Senegal 1980 2 1 2 (3-5) 1989 2 2 2 Zambia North America Barbados 1980 41 40 42 (3-4) South America Guatemala 1980 14 14 13 (4-6) 1991 16 16 16 Bolivia 1980 26 26 26 (4-5) 1990 29 29 29 Colombia 1980 27 (5) 1989 41 42 42 Ecuador 1980 10 10 11 (4-5) 1987 20 19 20 Guyana 1980 67 67 67 (4-5) 1988 71 71 71 Peru 1980 15 14 15 (3-5) 1990 36 Asia Japan 1980 41 41 41 (3-5) 1989 47 47 48 Europe Hungary 1980 96 96 95 (3-5) 1991 114 116 116 Netherlands 1980 107 108 106 (4-5) 1990 99 98 100 Norway 1980 44 (4-6) 1991 97 Oceania New Zealand 1980 54 54 54 (3-4) 1990 44 45 46 The enrolment rates for women and men are, in general, very close to each other. *: The ratio of the total number of children enrolled at this educational level, including all ages, to the population of the age corresponding to the duration of pre-primary education, in accordance with the regulations in force in each country. For each country the age corresponding to the duration of pre-primary education is shown in parentheses. Table 2 Gross rates of enrolment in primary and secondary education* (per cent) Overall rate Rate for males Rate for females Africa Libyan Arab inconsistent data Jamahiriya Madagascar 1984 71 75 78 (6-17)** 1990 53 54 52 Senegal 1980 29 36 23 (6-18) 1989 38 45 31 Zambia 1980 54 71 57 (7-18) 1988 68 73 63 North America Barbados 1980 95 96 95 (5-16) 1989 99 102 97 South America Guatemala 1980 47 51 43 (7-18) 1991 56 Bolivia 1980 70 75 64 (6-17) 1990 70 73 66 Colombia 1980 78 77 79 (6-16) 1991 82 79 85 Ecuador 1980 85 85 84 (6-17) 1987 89 89 89 Guyana 1980 78 78 78 (6-18) 1988 82 82 82 Peru 1980 91 94 87 (6-16) 1990 101 Asia Japan 1980 97 97 98 (6-17) 1989 98 98 99 Europe Hungary 1980 88 89 88 (6-17) 1991 86 86 86 Netherlands 1980 96 97 95 (6-17) 1990 99 99 93 Norway 1980 97 96 98 (7-18) 1991 102 101 102 Oceania New Zealand 1980 96 95 96 (5-17) 1990 92 92 93 *Ratio of the total number of pupils, irrespective of their age, and the population of the age group corresponding to a specific level of education. The rates for primary and secondary education have been calculated with due regard to the diversity of national educational systems and the duration of primary and secondary studies. **Group of the age considered for calculation of the rate. Observation of the most recent data shows that some countries record differences between the male and female school enrolment rates, revealing discrimination against the female population: In Senegal there is a 14-point gap do the disadvantage of women; In Zambia the gap amounts to 10 points; In Bolivia it amounts to 7 points; In Barbados and the Netherlands it amounts to 6 points. Table 3 Gross rates of enrolment in tertiary (20-24 years) education* (per cent) Overall rate Rate for males Rate for females Africa Libyan Arab 1980 8 11.6 4.2 Jamahiriya 1991 18.0 19.1 16.8 Madagascar 1980 2.9 1990 3.4 3.8 3.1 Senegal 1980 2.8 4.6 1.0 1989 2.9 4.7 1.2 Zambia 1980 1.6 1985 1.5 2.4 0.6 1989 2.0 3.0 1.1 North America Barbados 1980 15.5 14.2 16.7 1989 17.3 13.7 21.1 South America Guatemala 1980 8.4 1986 8.6 Bolivia 1980 17.2 1991 22.6 Colombia 1980 10.2 11.4 9.1 1989 13.7 13.2 14.1 Ecuador 1980 36.5 45.2 27.5 1987 29.0 34.5 23.4 1990 20.1 Guyana 1980 3.2 3.7 2.7 1988 5.1 5.8 4.4 Peru 1980 19.4 24.8 13.9 1990 35.6 Asia Japan 1980 30.5 40.6 20.3 1989 30.7 36.9 24.2 Europe Hungary 1980 12.9 12.7 13.1 1991 15.3 14.9 15.8 Netherlands 1980 30.0 35.4 24.3 1990 37.6 41.0 34 Norway 1980 25.5 25.9 25.1 1991 45.3 41.3 49.6 Oceania New Zealand 1980 28.6 33.2 23.7 1990 44.8 41.7 48.0 Table 4 Statistics on science and technology according to sex Country Year Potential scientists Potential technicians* and engineers men women men women Libyan Arab 1980 42 595 1 142 8 581 439 Jamahiriya Bolivia 1992 50 650 13 650 2 000 1 000 Japan 1987 7 444 000 1 228 000 1 886 000 3 069 000 Norway 1987 98 150 22 630 __ __ New Zealand 1991 139 200 54 523 430 233 286 458 Netherlands 1990 347 000 125 000 510 000 417 000 Hungary 1990 285 350 232 300 __ __ Peru 1981 only one figure for 72 866 92 807 M + W was furnished The statistics on science and technology, which relate to 8 countries involved in the next session of CEDAW, enable us to identify the place of women within two professional groups: (a) Potential scientists and engineers; (b) Potential technicians. Remarks: The data are not all from the same year, the most recent being from 1992 and the oldest from 1980. Norway has not supplied any data on potential technicians; Peru has not transmitted the number of women in the category of potential scientists and engineers. In general, a larger place is given to women in the category of potential technicians. With regard to this group, three trends may be distinguished: (a) In Japan and Peru the number of women belonging to this category is higher than the number of men; (b) In the Netherlands and New Zealand the data reveal a greater presence of males than of females: (c) In Bolivia women represent only one third of potential technicians; discrimination is even more conspicuous in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, where women represent only 5 per cent of potential technicians. Discrimination against women is much more marked for the category of potential scientists and engineers; we can distinguish: (a) Particularly Hungary, followed by New Zealand and the Netherlands, the countries in which there is the least discrimination: men are 2 to 3 times as numerous as women in this sector: (b) Bolivia, followed by Norway and Japan: men are 4 to 6 times as numerous; (c) The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, where men are 42 times as numerous as women. *: The figure refers to the number of trained persons available in the country concerned. Table 5 Rate of illiteracy among those 15 years of age and older (per cent) COUNTRY Women Men Gap 1985 1990 1985 1990 M - W (90) Senegal 80 7 74 9 54 6 48 1 26 8 pts Guatemala 56 2 52 9 40 0 36 9 16 pts Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 59 7 49 6 29 9 24 6 25 pts Zambia 41 3 34 7 23 3 19 2 15 5 pts Bolivia 35 5 29 3 19 1 15 3 14 pts Madagascar 31 6 27 1 14 2 12 3 14 8 pts Peru 25 5 21 3 10 5 8 5 12 8 pts Ecuador 19 5 16 1 14 5 9 6 6 5 pts Colombia 16 3 14 1 14 2 12 5 1 6 pts Guyana 5 9 4 6 3 3 2 5 2 1 pts Source: Division of Statistics, UNESCO The statistics on illiteracy according to sex reveal a general decrease in the rate of illiteracy among those 15 years of age and older over the period 1985-1990 for the 10 countries Ln question. The largest decrease-during this period was recorded in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for the female population. The most flagrant gaps between the percentages of illiterate women and illiterate men were recorded in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and in Senegal both for 1985 and for 1990. The smallest gaps were found in the countries which showed the lowest rates of illiteracy, that is to say, Guyana, Colombia and Ecuador. According to the 1990 data for the female population, we can classify the 10 countries into four groups: (a) The countries with an illiteracy rate close to 50 per cent: Senegal Guatemala Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (b) Those with a rate less than 50 per cent and greater than 25 per cent: Zambia Bolivia Madagascar (c) Those with a rate between 10 per cent and 20 per cent: Colombia Ecuador (d) Those with a rate less than 5 per cent: Guyana.
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