United Nations

CEDAW/C/1994/7


Committee on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women

 Distr. GENERAL
6 December 1993
ORIGINAL: ENGLISH



COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF
  DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN
Thirteenth session
New York, 17 January-4 February 1994
Item 6 of the provisional agenda*

    *    CEDAW/C/1994/1.


    CONTRIBUTION OF THE COMMITTEE TO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES

      Outline of the Compendium on the implementation of the
           Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
                   Discrimination against Women

                     Report by the Secretariat


                              CONTENTS

                                                             Page

INTRODUCTION .............................................     2

PROPOSED STRUCTURE AND APPROACH TO THE COMPENDIUM ........     2

      A.  The work of the Committee on the Elimination of
          Discrimination against Women:  origins and
          practices ......................................     3

      B.  Substantive developments in the implementation
          of the Convention ..............................     4

         1.  Article 2 ...................................     4

         2.  Article 11 ..................................     5


                          INTRODUCTION


1. At its thirty-sixth session, in 1992, the Commission on the
Status of Women decided to include in the basic documentation for
the Fourth World Conference on Women:  Action for Equality,
Development and Peace (1995), an updated compendium on the
achievements of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women.  An original compendium had been
prepared as the report of the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women on the achievements of and obstacles
encountered by States parties in the implementation of the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women for presentation to the World Conference to Review
and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for
Women:  Equality, Development and Peace, Nairobi, 15-26 July 1985
(A/CONF.116/13).

2. At its twelfth session, in 1993, the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women requested the
Secretariat to provide for its review at its thirteenth session
an outline of the draft of an updated compendium.  The compendium
is expected to be the Committee's contribution to the work of the
Fourth World Conference on Women.


        PROPOSED STRUCTURE AND APPROACH TO THE COMPENDIUM

3. The Compendium should illustrate the importance of the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women to the Fourth World Conference on Women.  The World
Conference should give an impetus to the promotion of
internationally recognized human rights and freedoms and
reactivate the enforcement of the provisions of the Convention. 
It should encourage universal ratification of the Convention and
the removal of reservations to it.

4. The Compendium will stress that the Convention is the first
international legal instrument which addresses the full range of
issues related to the role and position of women in society and
in the family, combining in a single international instrument the
various international conventions concerning the status of women
which are already in force.  In addition, it will include many of
the recommendations which the United Nations Commission on the
Status of Women has adopted over the years to define the sphere
of women's rights.

5. The Convention is not confined to the respect of equal rights
per se, since these are guaranteed under the International
Covenants on Civil and Political and on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights. 1/  Rather, its purpose is to ensure the equal
enjoyment of these rights.  The Convention thus is conceived as
an affirmative action programme requiring measures by States
parties to ensure that internationally recognized human rights
are equally applied to women.

6. By ratifying or acceding to the Convention, States parties
have undertaken to adopt all necessary measures at the national
level aimed at achieving the full realization of the rights
recognized in the Convention (art. 24).  In accordance with
article 18 of the Convention, the States parties have undertaken
to submit reports to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
for consideration by the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women.  The analysis in the Compendium
should reflect the Committee's work as reflected in the
examination of reports of States parties and in the general
recommendations adopted by the Committee.  It should provide a
factual assessment of how the Committee has worked, as well as an
assessment of changing trends in the implementation of the
Convention by States parties.

7. It is proposed to structure the Compendium in two broad
sections.  The first would trace the origins of the Convention
and analyse the work of the Committee.  Its purpose would be to
provide a succinct but analytical introduction to the Convention
and its monitoring.  To date, no such analysis has been made of
the Committee and its work.  To the extent possible, the section
could summarize the travaux pr‚paratoires for the Convention. 
The second section would analyse the Convention's implementation,
article by article, with a view to identifying trends in
implementation, obstacles encountered by States parties and
innovative measures to accelerate implementation that have been
found particularly effective by the Committee.

8. The Compendium should serve, after the Conference, as a basic
reference document on the work of the Committee.


       A.  The work of the Committee on the Elimination
           of Discrimination against Women:  origins
           and practices

9. The section would begin with a chapter on the origins of the
Convention in the work of the Commission on the Status of Women
from 1946-1976.  This chapter would describe the developments of
the concepts of women's rights as reflected in the Convention.  A
first draft of the chapter has been prepared by a consultant, who
headed the United Nations women's programme for many of its early
years.

10.     The second chapter would concentrate on the institutional
aspects of the work of the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women.  It would show how the functions of
the Committee have enlarged since its first session, in 1982.  It
would note how the Committee itself has redefined its terms of
reference.  By developing an extensive practice of making
recommendations and other contributions, the Committee has
assumed an important role in the international arena, not only in
treaty interpretation but also in contributing to policy
development in terms of advancement of women.  The chapter would
examine the Committee's working methods and decision-making
processes.  It would also describe the composition of the
Committee in terms of its geographic and professional variety. 
It would also show the Committee's relationship to other
international bodies, most importantly to other human rights
bodies as well as to the Commission on the Status of Women and
the United Nations Secretariat.  A first draft of this chapter
has been prepared by a consultant.


       B.  Substantive developments in the implementation
           of the Convention

11.     The section would consist of article by article analyses.
Each would present the text of the article and would describe how
States and the Committee have seen implementation of the article
in substantive terms.  For the purpose of the present outline,
examples of the approach are given for two articles.  Suggested
outlines for the remaining articles will be available in a
background paper.


                      1.  Article 2

12.     Article 2 requires States parties to pursue without delay
a policy of non-discrimination.  The commitment is indicated by a
number of actions outlined below.  Reservations to article 2 are
directed against the Convention and must be seen as incompatible
with the purpose and objective of the Convention.

13.     Issues to be dealt with in the chapter would include the
following:

   (a)  The principle of equality in national constitutions:

        National laws which interpret the constitutional
        principle of equality;

        The direct application of the Convention as national law
        before the courts;

        Ratifications/accessions to international conventions
        aiming at elimination of discrimination against women;

        Restrictions in law to the principle of equality,
        including those referred to in reservations to articles
        of the Convention;

        Exclusion of women from the protection by national laws
        (e.g., domestic workers);

   (b)  Legislative and other measures that prohibit
        discrimination against women:

        Sanctions against the violation of the right to equality
        and against discriminatory acts;

        Authorities responsible for enforcing sanctions, judicial
        remedies (court decisions), administrative procedures
        (public prosecutor, ...), arbitrative commission of trade
        unions, ...;

        Cases invoking the constitutional principle of equality;

   (c)  Legal protection of the rights of women through
        tribunals:

        Appointment of family judges;

        Redress of women covered by personal laws;

        Cases of sex discrimination filed;

        Grievance machinery to assist women;
        
   (d)  Procedure laid down for ensuring that public authorities
        and institutions refrain from discriminatory acts:

        Remedies against discriminatory acts of public
        authorities;

   (e)  Disciplinary, arbitrary and penal sanctions against
        discriminatory acts of persons, non-governmental
        organizations or private enterprises:

        Data on sanctions;

   (f)  Law reforms carried out to modify or abolish existing
        laws and adopt new laws:

        Education and information campaigns on the rights of
        women.


                         2.  Article 11

14.     The economic status of women and the situation of working
women is of special concern under the Convention.  It shows the
extent of women's independent status as individuals.  Article 11
covers three basic questions: women in employment, implementation
of the right to work without discrimination due to childbirth and
protective legislation.  The importance of article 11 is
underlined by the great number of Conventions adopted by the
International Labour Organization (ILO).

15.     Issues to be dealt with in the chapter would include the
following:

   (a)  Legal guarantees to ensure equal rights for women and men
in employment;

        International commitment to equal employment relations
        (Ratification of the International Covenant on Economic,
        Social and Cultural Rights, ILO Convention No. 122, ILO
        Convention No. 100 concerning Equal Remuneration for Men
        and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value);

        Restrictions or limitations imposed by law on the
        enjoyment of equal rights referred to under article 11 of
        the Convention, including those expressed by reservations
        of States parties to article 11 and in protective
        legislation;

        Revision or repeal of protective legislation envisaged in
        light of scientific and technological knowledge;
        
        Legal remedies against discriminatory employment
        practices including on grounds of marriage and maternity;

   (b)  The de facto enjoyment of women and men of equal
employment rights - the right to work and to the same employment
opportunities.  Reference will be made to statistics and
indicators reflected in United Nations studies, including the
update of The World's Women:  Trends and Statistics, e.g.,
economically active population, number and percentage, sex, age
groups, types of enterprises run by women as employers; fields in
which women are employed; part-time work of women and men;
unemployment rate of women and men;

   (c)  Free choice of profession and employment, the right to
the benefits and conditions of service, including women's
participation in non-traditional jobs; restrictions for women to
work in special areas and fields for protective and other
reasons; women in managerial positions; vocational training
during employment; measures to accelerate women's equal
participation in the economy (development and employment
policies, programmes, incentives given to employers to hire and
train women in non-traditional occupations); incentives offered
by Governments to enrol more women in training courses;
vocational training in technical areas;
   
   (d)  Equal remuneration for work of equal value.  The analysis
would underscore what was stated by the Committee, by its general
recommendation 13 (1989), that "more remains to be done to ensure
the application of that principle in practice, in order to
overcome the gender-segregation in the labour market".  The
Committee recommended that States parties consider the
development and adoption of job evaluation systems based on
gender-neutral criteria that would facilitate the comparison of
the value of those jobs of a different nature, in which women
presently predominate, with those jobs in which men presently
predominate.  It would look at such de facto indicators as income
earned by women and men (%) and minimum wages fixed;
   
   (e)  Payment guaranteed for women working in family
enterprises.  It would build on the determination of the
Committee by its general recommendation 16 (1991) "that unpaid
work constitutes a form of women's exploitation that is contrary
to the Convention".  The Committee recommended that States
parties "take the necessary steps to guarantee payment, social
security and social benefits for women who work without such
benefits in enterprises owned by a family member";
   
   (f)  Measurement and quantification of the unremunerated
domestic activities of women and their recognition in the gross
national product.  It would take account of the fact that the
Committee, by its general recommendation 17 (1991) affirmed "that
the measurement and quantification of the unremunerated domestic
activities of women, which contribute to development in each
country, will help to reveal the de facto economic role of
women".  The Committee recommended that States parties take steps
to measure and value the unremunerated domestic activities of
women and include them in national accounts;



   (g)  Social security.  The analysis would include:

        Coverage of women by social security schemes (in the
        work-force, part-time work after retirement);
            
        Unemployment assistance provided to men and to women;

        Retirement age of men and of women;

        Social security and social benefits provided to women who
        are not employed or work in enterprises owned by a male
        member of the family;
   
   (h)  Health protection at work.  The analysis would include;

        Safety and health regulations, rooms for rest and for
        nursing infants;

        Measures against sexual harassment;

        Availability of child care facilities;

        Protection of pregnant women workers;

   (i)  Measures to prevent discrimination against women on the
grounds of marriage or maternity;

   (j)  Protection by trade unions;

   (k)  Availability and duration of maternity leave or parental
leave, including reintegration of women into the work force after
maternity and other leave due to family responsibilities.


                              Notes

   1/   Resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.


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