United Nations


Committee on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women

3 December 1993

Thirteenth session
New York, 17 January-4 February 1994
Item 4 of the provisional agenda*

    *    CEDAW/C/1994/1.



1.  The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against
Women, at its tenth session, requested the Secretariat to
prepare, for each session of the Committee, for its information,
a report on the implications for its work of the priority themes
prepared, or under preparation, for the consideration of the
Commission on the Status of Women.

2.  The Commission on the Status of Women at its thirty-sixth
session, selected the priority issues to be considered by its
next four sessions (thirty-seventh to fortieth) under the agenda
item "Priority themes".  This decision was endorsed by Economic
and Social Council resolution 1990/15 of 15 May 1990.  Since
1988, the Commission has dealt with three themes at each session,
one under each of the three objectives, equality, development and

3.  The reports prepared under the priority themes often include
substantive material related to the Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.  The themes to be
considered by the Commission on the Status of Women at its
thirty-eighth session in 1994 include:

(a) Equality

    Equal pay for work of equal value, including methodologies
for measurement of pay inequities and work in the informal

(b) Development

    Women in urban areas:  population, nutrition and health
factors for women in development, including migration, drug
consumption and acquired immune deficiency syndrome;

(c) Peace

    Measures to eradicate violence against women in the family
and society.


4.  The Economic and Social Council presented in resolution
1990/15 its recommendations and conclusions arising from the
first review and appraisal of the implementation of the Nairobi
Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women to the
year 2000.  The resolution stated that:

    "... Governments and other appropriate parties ... should
    renew their efforts to close the gap between women's and
    men's pay ... for work of equal value.  ... The United
    Nations system should complete work on methodological aspects
    of measuring pay inequities between women and men ...".

5.  The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women, in its article 11, specifies that:

    "States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to
    eliminate discrimination against women in the field of
    employment in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men
    and women, the same rights, in particular: ... (d) The right
    to equal remuneration, including benefits, and to equal
    treatment in respect of work of equal value, as well as
    equality of treatment in the evaluation of the quality of
    work ...".
6.  To examine the theme, the Division for the Advancement of
Women arranged with the International Labour Organization (ILO),
Employment and Development Department, to prepare a study of the

7.  The study notes that the concept of equal pay has been the
subject of international treaties for a long time.  The ILO
Convention No. 100 of 1951 1/ concerning Equal Remuneration for
Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value states, moreover,
that each Member shall "ensure the application to all workers of
the principle of equal remuneration for men and women workers for
work of equal value".  It reaffirms the principle of equal pay
and equal treatment for work of equal value.  It refers to part-
time workers, piece-workers and out-workers as well as full-time

8.  Specific international instruments dealing with this issue
include Recommendation 1951 (No. 90) 2/ which envisages a number
of measures to be taken to promote, ensure, encourage or
facilitate "the application of the principle of equal
remuneration for women and men workers for work of equal value".

9.  The pattern of unequal remuneration is international,
although the level of inequality varies from place to place. 
Everywhere women are paid less than men.  The ratio of female
wages to male wages tends to be about 60 to 70 per cent in
industrialized countries.  According to data for the
manufacturing sector from the Yearbook of Labour Statistics,
published by the ILO, this ratio ranges from around 50 to
90 per cent for 1990.  The main factor in this pattern seems to
be the segregation of women in certain occupations.  The report
shows that there is an occupational concentration of women in
what are frequently less attractive positions in terms of pay,
status and opportunity for professional and technical

10. The report notes a number of gender biases in the way value
is assigned to work, which reinforces occupational segregation. 
It notes that job evaluation methods currently in use are not
gender neutral.  It applies the analysis to the informal sector.

11. In terms of policies to reduce wage differentials, it is
suggested that equal employment opportunity policies can seek to
reduce occupational segregation by prohibiting discrimination in
the various phases of employment.  Facilitating policies are
another type of measure, based on effecting non-labour factors
resulting in pay inequalities (e.g., access to land, credit,
education, family planning and other community services).


12. The Economic and Social Council, in its resolution 1990/15,
found that the issues of health and nutrition, population and
family planning, drug consumption and human immunodeficiency
virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) were all
important.  Urbanization and migration were noted as factors
making these issues more difficult to resolve.  Accordingly, the
Commission on the Status of Women decided to examine the whole
set of issues as its priority theme under the rubric of
development in 1994.

13. The report of the Secretary-General on the priority theme of
development will be based on the results of a seminar on "Women
in urban areas" organized by the Division for the Advancement of
Women in Santo Domingo from 22 to 25 November 1993.

14. Although article 14 of the Convention provides that "States
Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate
discrimination against women in rural areas in order to ensure,
on a basis of equality of men and women, that they participate in
and benefit from rural development", the Convention does not
mention women in urban areas as such.  It is implicit that their
concerns are covered by the various other articles.

15. The major issue to be considered under the theme is whether
urban women are able to benefit from the public services
necessary to ensure their health, nutrition and ability to
control their own fertility, as well as protect them from the
consequences of drug consumption and from the HIV/AIDS pandemic. 
Implicit is the provision of the necessary public services and
policies to allow women to exercise both their productive and
reproductive functions.

16. In its examination of the scope and application of the
provisions of article 12, CEDAW has focused particularly on
ending discrimination against women in national AIDS strategies;
General recommendation 15 (ninth session, 1990) calls on States
to enhance women's role as care providers, health workers and
educators in the prevention of infection with HIV and to give
special attention to the subordinate position of women in some
societies which makes them especially vulnerable to HIV


17. The Economic and Social Council stated in its resolution

         "The recognition that violence against women in the
    family and society is pervasive and cuts across lines of
    income, class and culture must be matched by urgent and
    effective steps to eliminate its incidence.  Violence against
    women derives from their unequal status in society.

         "Recommendation XXII:  Governments should take immediate
    measures to establish appropriate penalties for violence
    against women in the family, the work place and society. 
    Governments and other relevant agencies should also undertake
    policies to prevent, control and reduce the impact of
    violence on women in the family, the work place and society. 
    Governments and relevant agencies, women's organizations,
    non-governmental organizations and the private sector should
    develop appropriate correctional, educational and social
    services including shelters, training programmes for law
    enforcement officers, the judiciary and health and social
    service personnel, as well as adequate deterrent and
    corrective measures.  The number of women at all levels of
    law enforcement, legal assistance and judicial system should
    be increased".

18. The Commission on the Status of Women continued to work on
the issue and drafted the Declaration on Violence against Women
in 1992, which was to be adopted by the General Assembly at its
forty-eighth session in 1993.  The draft Declaration was
influenced by the work of the Committee, whose general
recommendation 19 indicated in detail how measures to eliminate
violence were inherent in the provisions of the Convention, even
though the issue was not explicitly mentioned.

19. The priority theme for the Commission was prepared on the
basis of an expert group meeting on Measures to Eradicate
Violence Against Women, organized by the Division for the
Advancement of Women, in cooperation with the Centre for Women's
Global Leadership from 4 to 8 October 1993 at Rutgers University,
New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States of America.  The expert
group meeting structured its work around the categories found in
the draft Declaration on Violence against Women.

20. The expert group reaffirmed that gender-based violence
against women occurs in all spheres of private and public life
such as in the family, the work place, the community and
international and national conflict situations.  Gender-based
violence hurts, humiliates or engenders fear in women.  It may be
threatened or inflicted via physical and sexual acts, as well as
through psychological abuse.

21. The expert group meeting considered existing national
strategies which have been implied in the context of the various
manifestations of gender-based violence against women.  Such
strategies have been framed in accordance with where the violence
occurs.  The strategies have focused predominantly on legal and
service measures.  The meeting also considered the value of
criminalization of specifically domestic violence.  In some
cases, the criminal justice response has revictimized individual
women, especially women who have been reluctant to cooperate in
criminal justice measures and have been incarcerated.  Other laws
have stressed protection of the victim, but failed to provide the
necessary support services.

22. The meeting recommended a variety of measures, intended both
to prevent violence and to cope with its effects.  It emphasized
the need for education and use of the mass media, as well as the
development of legal and law enforcement services that are
sensitive to the nature of the problem.  It made particular
reference to violence occurring in situations of armed conflict.

23. The meeting made recommendations for action at the
international level, including the terms of reference for the
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, expected to be
named by the Commission on Human Rights.  It also made
recommendations about how the issue should be addressed by the
United Nations programme on crime prevention and criminal
justice.  It suggested that the issue be built into the training
of United Nations peace-keeping personnel, for whom a code of
conduct should also be developed.


    1/   International Labour Organization, International Labour
Conventions and Recommendations 1919-1981, (Geneva) 1985.

    2/   Ibid.



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