Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Twentieth Anniversary


CEDAW Information Note 6

CEDAW General Recommendations

Article 21 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women empowers the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to make suggestions and general recommendations based on the examination of reports and information received from States parties. These, as well as comments from States parties, are included in the session reports of the Committee. Suggestions are usually directed at United Nations entities, while general recommendations are addressed to States parties and usually elaborate the Committee=s view of the obligations assumed under the Convention.

As of June 1999, CEDAW had adopted 24 general recommendations. Those adopted during the Committee's first ten years were short and modest, addressing such issues as the content of reports, reservations to the Convention and resources.

At its tenth session in 1991, the Committee decided to adopt the practice of issuing general recommendations on specific provisions of the Convention and on the relationship between the Convention Articles and what the Committee described as "cross-cutting" themes. Following this decision, CEDAW issued more detailed and comprehensive general recommendations which offer States parties clear guidance on the application of the Convention in particular situations.

In 1997, the Committee adopted a three-stage process for the formulation of general recommendations. The first stage consists of an open dialogue between the Committee, non-governmental organizations and others regarding the topic of the general recommendation. A Committee member is then asked to draft the general recommendation, which is discussed at the next session of the Committee in one of its working groups. At the following session, the revised draft is adopted by the Committee.

The following general recommendations have been adopted by the Committee:

General recommendations adopted by the Committee:

General recommendation No. 1 fifth session, 1986 reporting guidelines

General recommendation No. 2 sixth session, 1987 reporting guidelines

General recommendation No. 3 sixth session, 1987 education and public information programmes

General recommendation No. 4 sixth session, 1987 reservations

General recommendation No. 5 seventh session, 1988 temporary special measures

General recommendation No. 6 seventh session, 1988 effective national machinery and publicity

General recommendation No. 7 seventh session, 1988 resources

General recommendation No. 8 seventh session, 1988 article 8

General recommendation No. 9 eighth session, 1989 statistical data

General recommendation No. 10 eighth session, 1989 tenth anniversary of the adoption of CEDAW

General recommendation No. 11 eighth session, 1989 technical advisory services for reporting

General recommendation No. 12 eighth session, 1989 violence against women

General recommendation No. 13 eighth session, 1989 equal remuneration for work of equal value

General recommendation No. 14 ninth session, 1990 female circumcision

General recommendation No. 15 ninth session, 1990 women and AIDS

General recommendation No. 16 tenth session, 1991 unpaid women workers in rural and urban family enterprises

General recommendation No. 17 tenth session, 1991 measurement and quantification of the unremunerated domestic activities of women and their recognition in the GNP

General recommendation No. 18 tenth session, 1991 disabled women

General recommendation No. 19 eleventh session, 1992 violence against women

General recommendation No. 20 eleventh session, 1992 reservations

General recommendation No. 21 thirteenth session, 1994 equality in marriage and family relations

General recommendation No 22 fourteenth session, 1995 article 20 of the Convention

General recommendation No 23 sixteenth session, 1997 women in political and public life

General recommendation No 24 twentieth session, 1999 article 12 - women and health


(Source: UN Division for the Advancement of Women)


Published by the United Nations Department of Public Information C DPI/2047 C May 1999