CEDAW Committee Rulings

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Nations that ratify the Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) are required to come before the United Nations Committee on CEDAW every four years to report on how their country is implementing the treaty. The Committee then tells the country what more it needs to do to be in compliance.

Bearing in mind that treaties are agreements between countries, it is disturbing that the Committee consistently urges governments to interfere and exert pressure in personal and cultural issues. Equally disturbing is an international body injecting itself into domestic social and political affairs of sovereign nations.

Following examples are from the CEDAW Committee’s Concluding Observations. This list is not exhaustive. They can be found at http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf

The subjects covered are:

Prostitution
Motherhood
Religion
Abortion
Objection to Conscientious Objections
Mandatory Sex Education and Contraception
Indoctrination of Children
Single-Sex Schools
Promotion of Disreputable Gender Studies
Socialism
Encouraging Cohabitation
Intrusion Into Families
Homosexuality
National Sovereignty and Use of Courts and Other Systems to Enforce CEDAW
Comparable Worth
Quotas
Amend National Constitutions and Laws
Pressure to Withdraw Reservations
Costs to Taxpayers
Reducing Protections of Pregnant Women
Expectations of Countries’ Obligations to Committee
Women in Potential Combat Positions

PROSTITUTION:

  • February 3, 1999, the CEDAW Committee said that it was “concerned that prostitutionis illegal in China” and it “recommends the decriminalization of prostitution in China.”

May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee told Mexico to “address the matter of whether it intends to legalize prostitution.” February 2, 2000, the CEDAW Committee criticized Germany “that although they are legally obliged to pay taxes, prostitutes still do not enjoy the protection of labour and social law.” February 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Greece “while noting positively the fact that prostitution is decriminalized and instead is dealt with in a regulatory manner, the Committee is concerned that inadequate structures exist to ensure compliance with the regulatory framework.” February 3, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Hong Kong (China) it “notes that while prostitution itself is not unlawful, provisions to ensure the health and safety of sex workers are unclear, and there may be discrimination against women in the enforcement of related crimes. The Committee recommends that adequate regulations to protect women sex workers be put in place and enforced.” July 31, 2001, “The representative [of Guinea] indicated that one of the social scourges in the country was prostitution, to which the problems of poverty and the degradation of moral values contributed. Prostitution was illegal, and was rejected and condemned by society The Committee urges the Government to strictly enforce laws that prohibit the exploitation of prostitution without penalizing women who provide sexual services” February 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Liechtenstein it “recommends that a review be made of the law relating to prostitution to ensure that prostitutes are not penalized.” July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Sweden “to evaluate the effect of the current policy of criminalizing the purchase of sexual services….”

MOTHERHOOD:

  • January 31, 2000, the CEDAW Committee criticized Belarus for “the continuing prevalence of sex-role stereotypes, as also exemplified by the reintroduction of such symbols as a Mothers’ Day and a Mothers’ Award, which [the Committee] sees as encouraging women’s traditional roles.”

January 21, 2000, complained to Luxembourg about its “stereotypical attitudes that tend to portray men as heads of households and breadwinners, and women primarily as mothers and homemakers.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee criticized Ireland’s Constitution for “promoting a stereotypical view of the role of women in the home and as mothers.” It lamented “the persistence of the emphasis on the role of women as mothers and caregivers tends to perpetuate sex role stereotypes and constitutes a serious impediment to the full implementation of the Convention.” June 15, 2000, the CEDAW Committee told Austria that “persisting cultural stereotypes of women as homemakers and care givers constitute an impediment to the full implementation of the Convention.” January 21, 2000, the CEDAW Committee criticized Luxembourg for “the stereotypical attitudes that tend to portray men as heads of households and breadwinners, and women primarily as mothers and homemakers.” January 23, 1997, the CEDAW Committee criticized Slovenia “that less than 30 per cent of children under three years of age and slightly more than half of all children between three and six were in formal day care, and that the remaining children, while cared for by family members and other private individuals might miss out on educational and social opportunities offered in formal day-care institutions.” January 23, 1997, the CEDAW Committee told Slovenia “it was alarmedthat failure to find such employment might confine women to the role of homemaker.” January 30, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Estonia it was “concerned at the situation of young women who face additional difficulties in the labour market, owing to the domestic and family responsibilities assigned to them, placing them in a vulnerable position and leading to them having a higher incidence in part-time work.” July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Netherlands to “improve the conditions for working women so as to enable them to choose full-time, rather than part-time, employment in which they are currently over-represented.” February 2, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Uzbekistan “that a policy of gender equality in compliance with the Convention will require the reconceptualization of the role of women in society from that of mother and wife, exclusively responsible for children and the family, to that of individual person and actor in society.” February 3, 1999, the CEDAW Committee criticized China “that the Government’s approach to the implementation of the Convention has an apparent focus on the protection of women rather than on their empowerment. Thus, the central machinery responsible for government policy is the National Working Committee on Women and Children, perpetuating the identification of women with children. Similarly, in the area of women’s health, there is a focus on mother-child health, limited to women’s reproductive function. Likewise, labour laws and regulations overemphasize the protection of women. May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee criticized Croatia for “the consistent emphasis placed on women’s roles as mothers and caregivers in Croatian legislation pertaining to a variety of areas. While legislative provisions protecting maternity are important, the Committee is concerned that prioritizing that aspect of women’s lives reinforces traditional and stereotypical role expectations, which tend to limit women’s full participation in society. The Committee comments that despite the fact that women in Croatia are well-educated and participate in the labour force in large numbers, a careful and gender-sensitive analysis of the emphasis on motherhood vis-vis women’s roles in the public sphere is needed on the part of the Government to assure de facto gender equality in the Croatian society of the future.” May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee criticized the Czech Republic “that the report of the Czech Republic and its oral introduction to the Committee reflect an overarching tendency on the part of the Government to conceive of women as mothers and within the context of the family, rather than as individuals and independent actors in the public sphere. The Committee considers that such a perception is a major obstacle to the implementation of the Convention because it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of such critical concepts as gender roles, indirect discrimination and de facto inequalityHaving emerged from the restrictions of a totalitarian State, where full employment of women and institutional caretaking of children has been emphasized, the Czech Republic’s current policies directed at women and family overemphasize motherhood and family roles for women.” February 2, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Egypt “that article 11 of the Egyptian Constitution, which states that the State shall enable a woman to reconcile her duties towards her family with her work in society and guarantee her equality with men in the sphere of political, social, cultural and economic life, appears to entrench the woman’s primary role as mother and homemaker.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee criticized Georgia for “the persistence of a patriarchal culture, the prevalence of stereotyped roles of women in Government policies in the family and in public life based on patterns of behaviour and attitudes that overemphasize the role of women as mothers. It also notes with concern that the report itself promotes the role of man as breadwinner.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Spain that “that women’s participation in the labour market is one of the priority areas the Committee is concerned that women’s overall participation in the labour market is one of the lowest among Western European countries, with only 32 per cent of women holding full-time employment, while the rate of women in part-time employment remains at 76 per cent While new legislation protecting part-time workers was introduced in 1998 to promote such employment, the Committee expresses concern that these measures may lead to short-term gains in women’s employment, without addressing long-term structural issues of women’s double burden of paid and unpaid work. These measures may also lead to the perpetuation and reinforcement of stereotypical attitudes about women’s family responsibilities, rather than increasing their participation in the labour market.”

RELIGION:

  • July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee criticized Ireland for “the influence of the Church in attitudes and stereotypes but also in official state policy.”

April 12, 1994, the CEDAW Committee told Libya “the interpretation of the Koran had to be reviewed in the light of the provisions of the Convention” February 3, 1999, the CEDAW Committee noted “with concern that China has entered seven reservations and declarations in respect of the provisions of the Convention as applied to Hong Kong. Of particular concern is the reservation exempting ‘the affairs of religious denominations or orders’ from the scope of the Convention.” May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee told Croatia it “expresses concern that there is evidence that church-related organizations adversely influence the Government’s policies concerning women and thereby impede full implementation of the Convention.

ABORTION:

  • May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee criticized Mexico for “the lack of access for women in all States to easy and swift abortion.” It recommended “that all states of Mexico should review their legislation so that, where necessary, women are granted access to rapid and easy abortion.”

May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee recommended to Mexico “that the Government consider the advisability of revising the legislation criminalizing abortion and suggests that it weigh the possibility of authorizing the use of the RU486 contraceptive, which is cheap and easy to use, as soon as it becomes available.” February 4, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Colombia it “believes that legal provisions on abortion constitute a violation of the rights of women to health and life and of article 12 of the Convention.” July 9, 1999, the CEDAW Committee criticized Chile for “the inadequate recognition and protection of the reproductive rights of women in Chile. The Committee is especially concerned at the laws prohibiting and punishing any form of abortionThe Committee considers these provisions to violate the human rights of all women. The Committee recommends that the Government consider review of the laws relating to abortion with a view to their amendment, in particular to provide safe abortion and to permit termination of pregnancy for therapeutic reasons or because of the health, including the mental health, of the woman.” July 8, 1998, the CEDAW Committee told Peru to “review its law on abortion and ensure that women have access to full and complete health services, which include safe abortion” May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee told Zimbabwe to “reappraise the law on abortion with a view to its liberalization and decriminalization.” January 28, 2000, after Myanmar’s representative stated that abortion is illegal, “but that there were provisions for medical care and post-abortal contraception for women who had undergone unsafe abortions,” the CEDAW Committee reported it “is concerned that there is no information on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy resulting from sexual violence.” January 30, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Sri Lanka “that abortion be permitted in cases of rape, incest and congenital abnormalities.” January 21, 2000, the CEDAW Committee urged Luxembourg on “legislation governing abortions” to “amend such laws.” January 23, 1997, the CEDAW Committee “noted with satisfaction the inclusion of the right to abortion in the Constitution of Slovenia.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Ireland is “is concerned that, with very limited exceptions, abortion remains illegal in IrelandThe Committee urges the Government to facilitate a national dialogue on women’s reproductive rights, including on the restrictive abortion laws.” August 12, 1997, the CEDAW Committee told Italy it “strongly recommended that the Government take steps to secure the enjoyment by women, in particular, southern Italian women, of their reproductive rights by, inter alia, guaranteeing them access to safe abortion services in public hospitals.” May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee told Croatia it “strongly recommends that the Government take steps to secure the enjoyment by women of their reproductive rights by, inter alia, guaranteeing them access to abortion services in public hospitals.” January 28, 2002, the CEDAW Committee urged Uruguay “to amend its legislation on pregnancy termination.” January 23, 2002, the CEDAW Committee criticized the “restrictive abortion laws in place in Portugal,” and urged Portugal “to facilitate a national dialogue on women’s reproductive rights, including on the restrictive abortion laws.” January 27, 2000, the CEDAW Committee criticized Jordan “that the prohibition of abortion also applies to cases where pregnancy is due to rape or incest. The Committee calls on the Government to initiate legislative action to permit safe abortion for victims of rape and incest.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee criticized Nepal for “the current law, which criminalizes abortion, including in cases of pregnancy through rape or incest It is also concerned that the proposed amendments to the current law continue to be restrictive, allowing abortion only when the mother’s health is in danger. The Committee urges the Government to revise existing legislation and to reconsider the proposed amendments so as to provide services for safe abortions.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee criticized United Kingdom and Northern Ireland “that the Abortion Act 1967 does not extend to Northern Ireland where, with limited exceptions, abortion continues to be illegal The Committee also recommends that the Government initiate a process of public consultation in Northern Ireland on reform of the abortion law.” February 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Liechtenstein it “recommends the development of studies and indicators to determine the impact of laws and policies on women, since linkages between the strict anti-abortion law and the high incidence of children born out of wedlock might be revealed.”

OBJECTION TO CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTIONS:

  • May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee told Croatia it is concerned about “the refusal, by some hospitals, to provide abortions on the basis of conscientious objection of doctors. The Committee considers this to be an infringement of women’s reproductive rights.”

August 12, 1997, the CEDAW Committee “expressed particular concern with regard to the limited availability of abortion services for women in southern Italy, as a result of the high incidence of conscientious objection among doctors and hospital personnel.” May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee criticized Zimbabwe “about reports relating to the refusal of some health-care providers to give family planning services to sexually active adolescents, despite there being no legal restrictions in this regard.”

MANDATORY SEX EDUCATION AND CONTRACEPTION:

  • February 2, 2001, the CEDAW Committee urged Uzbekistan “to maintain free access to basic health care and to improve its family planning and reproductive health policy, including the availability and accessibility of modern contraceptive means. It encourages the Government to promote sex education during the compulsory school years.”

February 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Greece it was concerned “about the extent of funding for contraception, given the comprehensive coverage of health insurance and funding for health services in Greece. The Committee recommends that the Government introduce sex education as part of the school curriculum.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee urged Ireland “to further improvethe availability of contraception, including for teenagers and young adults. It also urges the Government to promote the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.” January 28, 2002, the CEDAW Committee urged Russia “to strengthen affordable access to contraceptive measures for all women in all regions. It also urges the Government to include sex education in the school curriculum.” January 30, 2002, the CEDAW Committee urged Estonia “to introduce programmes of sexual education for both girls and boys as a regular part of the school curriculum.” January 29, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Trinidad and Tobago to “introduce appropriate policies and programmes for sex education and family planning education.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Spain it “recommendsage-appropriate sex education in primary and secondary schools.”

INDOCTRINATION OF CHILDREN:

  • June 23, 2000, the CEDAW Committee told Romania to “place priority on the review and revision of teaching materials, textbooks and school curricula, especially for primary-and secondary-level education.”

February 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Greece to “conduct a comprehensive review of all educational curricula at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels with a view to eliminating remaining discriminatory aspects, remedying the stereotypical portrayal of women and girls and creating an educational environment that is conducive to girls’ and women’s education and learning.” February 3, 1999, the CEDAW Committee urged China “to revise school textbooks and curricula to eliminate gender stereotypes and to include the achievement of gender equality as a societal goal in its education policy.” January 27, 1997, the CEDAW Committee told Denmark “The gender and culture course, which is currently optional in pre-university curricula, should be made mandatory in secondary education.” June 15, 2000, the CEDAW Committee told Austria to introduce into school curricula “women’s human rights education on the basis of the Convention.” August 12, 1997, the CEDAW Committee told Italy it “deemed it essential that textbooks and teaching material be reviewed and revised to reflect the non-stereotypical roles of men and women.” January 30, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Estonia “to design and implement comprehensive programmes in the educational system and to encourage the mass media to promote cultural changes with regard to the roles and tasks attributed to women and men, as required by article 5 of the Convention. It recommends that legislation be enacted and policies adopted to cover not only the prohibition of discrimination against women but also of the more subtle utilization of and support for traditional sex role stereotypes in the family, in employment, in politics and in society.” January 30, 2002, the CEDAW Committee urged Estonia “to review and reform the curricula and textbooks in order to combat the traditional attitudes towards women” January 29, 2002, the CEDAW Committee urged Trinidad and Tobago “to implement curriculum reform and the revision of textbooks in order to combat traditional attitudes towards women” July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Viet Nam to “take urgent and wide-ranging measures, including targeted educational programmes, the revision of curricula and textbooks, and mass media campaigns, to overcome traditional stereotypes regarding the role of women and men in the society.” July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Sweden to “strengthen its efforts to eliminate gender stereotypes in educational curricula and consistently integrate awareness and understanding of gender equality in teacher training. Given the clear correlation between the choice of field of study and placement in the labour market, the Committee recommends that the Government increase its efforts towards ending gender segregation in students’ choice of field of education and encourage both women and men to choose non-traditional fields of education.” February 2, 2001, the CEDAW Committee criticized Uzbekistan for “the lack of targeted educational programmes, revision of curricula and textbooks, and mass media campaigns to eliminate those stereotypes” of “traditional attitudes towards womenreflected in the lack of sharing of responsibility by men for household and family duties.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Georgia to initiate “comprehensive measures to eliminate gender stereotypes through a number of efforts, including the review of textbooks beyond primary education, the sensitization of teachers”

SINGLE-SEX SCHOOLS:

  • May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee criticized the Czech Republic’s “policy of creating “household management” schools, which, although not formally sex segregated, basically cater to female students and train them for traditional stereotypical roles, as promoting gender stereotyping. The same applies with regard to the practice of some schools admitting only boys because of their ‘different physical abilities’. In stressing the importance of encouraging girls and boys to choose non-traditional fields of study in order to eliminate discrimination against women, the Committee expresses its heightened concern about such schools.”

PROMOTION OF “GENDER STUDIES”:

  • June 15, 2000, the CEDAW Committee called upon Austria “to integrate gender studies and feminist research in university curricula and research programmes.”

February 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee urged Greece “to establish degree-granting women’s studies programmes to provide academic support to political and practical changes aimed at creating a non-patriarchal society.” February 3, 1999, the CEDAW Committee urged Hong Kong (China) “to address the perpetuation of gender stereotypes and to allocate adequate resources for gender studies programmes.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Ireland to report on “what extent gender and women’s studies courses are integrated into the curricula of conventional disciplines in tertiary education.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Spain it “is concerned at the lack of information on the number and type of women’s studies courses at institutions of higher learning. It recommends that the Government provide this information in its next periodic report.”

SOCIALISM:

  • May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee tells Mexico it “would welcome a more equitable redistribution of wealth among the population.”

July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Spain to “carefully monitor equality measures taken at the level of the autonomous communities and their coherence and accountability with national equality policies. It also urges the Government to ensure strong links between the central and local Governments and full support to the Women’s Sectoral Conference so as to enable it to implement fully its role as a mechanism for collaboration between the central and regional governments.”

ENCOURAGING COHABITATION:

  • June 23, 2000, the CEDAW Committee told Romania it is “concerned that despite the decrease in marriages and a growing incidence in cohabitation, the rights of women in cohabitation outside marriage are not protected by the legal system.”

INTRUSION INTO FAMILIES:

  • January 23, 1997, the CEDAW Committee recommended to Slovenia “the adoption of parental leave legislation in which part of the leave must be taken by the father.”

July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee urged Ireland “to ensure that they create incentives and opportunities for women and men to share, equally, paid work outside the home and unpaid family work. In particular, the Committee recommends that such regulations and policies be accompanied by awareness-raising and educational effort aimed at changing attitudes concerning women’s traditional roles and responsibilities for child and family care.” July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Nicaragua it “recommends the speedy adoption of a non-discriminatory family code.” January 28, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Uruguay to eliminate “legal provisions that still exist, particularly in the Civil Code in matters relating to the family, and to bring Uruguayan legislation into line with the Convention.” July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee criticized Singapore, “While the Committee recognizes the importance of the family as the basic social unit, it expresses concern that the concept of Asian values regarding the family, including that of the husband having the legal status of head of household, might be interpreted so as to perpetuate stereotyped gender roles in the family and reinforce discrimination against women.” February 2, 2000, the CEDAW Committee urged Germany “to consider the introduction of non-transferable parental leave for fathers to increase the number of men that share responsibility for childcare and child-rearing. It urges the Government to improve the availability of care places for school-age children to facilitate women’s re-entry in the labour market.”

HOMOSEXUALITY:

  • May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee requests information from Mexico “on whether homosexuality is penalized in the criminal code.”

January 27, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Kyrgyzstan it “recommends that lesbianism be reconceptualized as a sexual orientation and that penalties for its practice be abolished.” January 29, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Trinidad and Tobago to “consider a revision of any laws which provide punishment for sexual relations between women in order to eliminate this discrimination against women.”

NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY AND USE OF COURTS AND OTHER SYSTEMS TO ENFORCE CEDAW:

  • June 23, 2000, the CEDAW Committee told Romania “while welcoming the fact that in accordance with article 20 of the Constitution, the Convention is integrated into domestic legislation and takes precedence over such legislation, [it] is concerned that there is a lack of familiarity among the judiciary about the opportunities created by article 20 of the Constitution for the application of the Convention in domestic judicial decision-makingThe Committee encourages the Government to ensure that law school curricula and continuing judicial education include the Convention and its applicability at the domestic level. It invites the Government to provide information, in its next report, about complaints filed in courts based on the Convention, as well as about any court decisions that referred to the Convention.”

May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee “commends the Government on the fact that the Convention has been incorporated into the national laws of Croatia and may be invoked before the courts by any citizen.” May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee praised Croatia’s commitment to examine “The need to improve public awareness about the Convention so that it may be used more frequently throughout the judicial system.” January 23, 1997, the CEDAW Committee told Slovenia “that the judiciary be made aware of the meaning of indirect and structural discrimination, de facto equality and the concept of temporary special measures.” February 2, 2000, the CEDAW Committee urged Germany “to ensure that tertiary and continuing legal education of lawyers and the judiciary adequately covers the evolving understanding of equality and non-discrimination, and international norms and standards in that regardIt also encourages the Government to refer directly to the Convention in its legislative, policy and programmatic initiatives since the Convention is legally binding and such use would increase awareness of the international commitments entered into by the State party.” February 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Greece it “notes with concern that, following a number of recent court cases, the legality of affirmative action and temporary special measures in accordance with article 4.1 of the Convention is unclear. The Committee recommends that the Government clarify the compatibility of its legislative provisions with article 4.1 of the Convention to ensure its implementation.” February 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Greece it “notes with concern that, notwithstanding the availability of legal remedies to seek redress for discrimination and the fact that some court cases have been filed to challenge discrimination, very few women avail themselves of this right and are often reluctant to do so. The Committee recommends that the Government develop programmes to raise awareness of the constitutional remedy among women and women’s groups so that individual acts of discrimination will be consistently challenged and so that the Constitution will have an impact on government action and policy and on the private sector.” August 12, 1997, the CEDAW Committee told Italy to “sensitize judges, lawyers and law enforcement personnel to indirect discrimination and to Italy’s international obligations, in particular those outlined in the Convention.” January 28, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Russia it “welcomes the fact that the provisions of international treaties, and in particular of the Convention, are a component part of the State’s legal system and can be directly invoked in domestic courts.” January 30, 2002, the CEDAW Committee “notes with satisfaction that the Convention is incorporated into Estonian law and its precedence over conflicting national legislation While welcoming the fact that, in accordance with articles 3 and 123 of the Constitution, the Convention is integrated into domestic legislation and takes precedence over such legislation the Committee is concerned that there is still a lack of familiarity among the judiciary, law enforcement agents and women themselves about the opportunities for the application of the Convention in domestic decision-making.” January 30, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Estonia “to ensure that law school curricula and continuing judicial education include the Convention and its applicability at the domestic level. It also recommends that awareness-raising campaigns addressed to women be undertaken to allow them to avail themselves of the legal remedies that assist them. It invites the Government to provide, in its next report, information about complaints filed in courts based on the Convention, as well as about any court decisions that referred to the Convention.” January 23, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Portugal it was “concerned at the apparent lack of legal actions or court decisions where the Convention and/or Constitution have been used to support claims by women facing discrimination. February 2, 2001, the CEDAW Committee criticized Maldives “that there is an absence of an effective machinery to enforce the rights recognized by the Constitution and to claim remedies.” February 4, 1999, the CEDAW Committee criticized Columbia “that there has been no systematic development of training programmes for government, State or court officials or for police forces responsible for the implementation of the rules and procedures relating to compliance with the law and the implementation of the Convention The Committee recommends that the Government consider strengthening the role of the National Office for Equality for Women, by means of a national law raising its status to that of an autonomous body with all the requisite powers and resources to be able to exercise more effective influence in Colombian society.” July 8, 1998, the CEDAW Committee told Peru to report on “whether the judiciary has the authority to implement Convention provisions before the courts, lastly, whether cases of discrimination have been resolved by the courts with reference to the Convention.”

COMPARABLE WORTH:

  • January 27, 1997, the CEDAW Committee told Denmark to strengthen “temporary special measures ensuring that women and men receive equal pay for work of equal value.”

January 21, 2000, the CEDAW Committee criticized Luxembourg that “women’s work remains undervalued compared with men’s work.” It told “the Government to undertake studies on the causes of the wage gap so as to improve the factual basis for labour negotiations where collective wages are set.” February 3, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Hong Kong (China) “that the principle of equal pay for work of equal value be included in relevant legislation and that criteria be established to determine the measure of equal value in a largely gender-segregated labour market.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee criticized Ireland “that little progress is being made in assessing and valuing work of comparable value.” July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Andorra to “avail itself of existing research and practice with regard to equal pay for work of equal and comparable value in order to overcome pay inequity.” July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Nicaragua to make “greater efforts to achieve equal pay for work of equal value.” January 28, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Russia it “urges enactment of legislation requiring equal pay for work of equal value.” January 30, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Estonia “There should be additional wage increases in female-dominated sectors of public employment to decrease the wage differential in comparison with male-dominated sectors. The Committee requests information in the next report on the implementation of the amendments to the Wages Act, which entered into force in January 2002 and guarantees equal pay for equal work or work of equal value.” January 29, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Trinidad and Tobago to “avail itself of existing research and practice with regard to equal pay for work of equal and comparable value in order to overcome inequality in pay.” January 23, 2002, the CEDAW Committee criticized Fiji “that women do not receive equal wages for work of equal value.” February 2, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Uzbekistan “to address the problem of occupational segregation and to start implementing the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Georgia “to identify the causes of the wage gap, particularly between female-and male-dominated public labour market sectors, and recommends consideration of innovative measures, such as the introduction of provisions for equal pay for work of comparable value.”

QUOTAS:

  • July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee commended Guyana “on the mandatory representation of 33 1/3 per cent women on the lists of all political parties contesting the general elections and regional elections. “

July 31, 2001, Singapore explained the “guiding principles that had shaped Singapore’s policies on gender equality were meritocracy on the basis of equal opportunities, people development, treating women as part of the mainstream and not as a special interest group, and building social capital with a special focus on strengthening the family.” The CEDAW Committee “urges the Government of Singapore to enhance its efforts to increase women’s representation in politics and decision-making through a gender-sensitive application of the meritocracy principle and by taking measures to guarantee the equal opportunity of women to participate in these areas. Such measures may include the imposition of minimum quotas for women political candidates.” January 27, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Kyrgyzstan it “recommends the introduction of a broad range of temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, including quotas, to improve the representation of women in politics and at all levels of decision-making and in non-traditional fields of employment.” June 15, 2000, the CEDAW Committee told Austria “to introduce affirmative action to increase women’s appointments to academic posts at all levels.” June 15, 2000, the CEDAW Committee told Austria to consider “the use of federal funding for political parties as an incentive for the increased representation of women in Parliament, as well as the application of quotas and numerical goals and measurable targets aimed at increasing women’s political participation.” January 27, 1997, the CEDAW Committee reprimanded Denmark for “the removal of quotas by political parties. Although the participation of women in politics was at a higher level than in other countries, Denmark had yet to reach gender parity in the political sphere.” January 27, 1997, the CEDAW Committee told Denmark to strengthen “temporary special measures increasing women’s participation in private-sector decision-making; increasing the number of female university professors and researchers; and encouraging men to devote more time to child care and housework. Such initiatives should include quantitative targets, time limits for their achievement, specific measures and sufficient budgetary resources.” January 23, 1997, the CEDAW Committee, after Slovenia reported, “there were clear differences in what women and men preferred to study,” told the country to “make systemic efforts to ensure that women students are encouraged to enter diverse disciplines so as to overcome the clustering of female students in certain disciplines at schools and universities. Such measures could include special counseling and gender-specific temporary measures with numerical goals and timetables.” January 23, 1997, the CEDAW Committee recommended to Slovenia “temporary special measures with concrete numerical goals and timetables in order to overcome employment segregation.” It “encouraged the Government to create government-subsidized employment opportunities for young women and to address their unemployment with specific measures, including quotas related to their percentage of the unemployed population.” February 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee urged Greece “to adopt innovative measures to raise the percentage of women in all public bodies, including in the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. Efforts should also be made to encourage other entities, such as political parties and the private sector, to increase the number of women at senior and decision-making levels.” February 3, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Hong Kong (China) to “study the experience of other countries in using quotas, timetables for achieving specified goals and databases on women candidates, with a view to applying them in Hong Kong.” February 3, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Hong Kong (China) to adopt “temporary special measures to increase the number of women in non-traditional areas of education, especially in science, technology and engineering.” February 2, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Burundi “when introducing quotas for ethnic groups, the Government also consider introducing measuresto increase the participation of women in decision-making at all levels.” August 12, 1997, the CEDAW Committee told Italy to implement “specific affirmative actions targeted to numerical goals and quotas, in particular in those areas such as political and decision-making positions of public life.” May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee told Croatia “It encourages specific affirmative actions targeted to numerical goals and quotas, in particular in those areas such as political and decision-making positions in public life where women’s de facto equality has not been improving at the desired pace. January 30, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Estonia to “introduce temporary special measures in the educational, professional and political fields, including through encouragement to pursue disciplines and areas of work and of political intervention in which one sex is underrepresented. Such provisions should be designed with measurable goals, targets or quotas and time lines to allow their effective monitoring.” May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee told the Czech Republic to “review its perspective on special temporary measures in the area of women’s political and economic participation in leadership positions. In this context, it recommends instituting numerical goals and targets, as well as a plan of action with timetables to boost women’s participation in these areas.” February 2, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Egypt “to increase the number of women at all levels of decision-making, including in government and Parliament. It urges the Government to implement temporary special measures, such as numerical goals and quotas connected to time frames, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, in order to increase the representation of women at decision-making levels in all areas.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Georgia it “recommends the review of the negative attitudes towards such concepts and provisions such as, for example, temporary special measures, including quotas in the areas of political participation and in employment.”

AMEND NATIONAL CONSTITUTION AND LAWS:

  • January 21, 2000, the CEDAW Committee reprimanded Luxembourg for “the failure of the State party to amend the Constitution to include the principle of equality between women and men. This is not only a failure to comply with the State party’s specific obligations under article 2 of the Convention, but with international human rights law in general.” This is after Luxembourg reported, “A working group was preparing a project to integrate gender equality aspects into all basic and continuing education curriculaA second strategic focus was the integration of a gender perspective into all policies, with an emphasis on legislation. Since September 1998, all legislation must be accompanied by a statement on its impact on equality of opportunityGender equality officers were now mandatory in the private sector.”

January 30, 2002, the CEDAW Committee urges Estonia “to include the definition of discrimination against women in its Constitution and national legislation.” January 29, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Trinidad and Tobago it “is concerned that the provisions of international treaties, including the Convention, do not have direct effect on domestic law and are not automatically incorporated into domestic law. … “The Committee recommends that the Government take steps to ensure that the principles of the Convention are fully incorporated into the law of Trinidad and Tobago and are enforceable in its courts. “The Committee is concerned that, although discrimination by reason of sex is prohibited in the constitution, there is no definition of discrimination in the constitution or in other legislation. It is concerned that the constitution may allow for discriminatory legislation. “The Committee recommends the adoption of a definition of discrimination in the constitution and other legislation to reflect the definition contained in article 1 of the Convention. The Committee further recommends that an inventory should be made of the laws that discriminate against women, with a view to their revision, amendment or repeal.” January 28, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Uruguay “that a definition of discrimination against women, based on the definition contained in article 1 of the Convention, be incorporated into the Constitution and other legal norms.” January 23, 2002, the CEDAW Committee criticized Fiji “that the Constitution of 1997 does not contain a definition of discrimination against women or a right to health care.” January 23, 2002, the CEDAW Committee criticized Fiji “that the Family Law Bill, the Evidence Bill and several other laws that seek to eliminate discrimination against women have not yet been adopted by the legislature. The Committee urges the Government to set a clear and early time frame for the adoption of these laws.” January 21, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Iceland to incorporate “the Convention into domestic legislation. The Committee points particularly at the importance of the incorporation of article 1 of the Convention, which defines ‘discrimination against women’.” July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee criticized Guyana for “the absence of reference to indirect discrimination in the Constitution .” February 2, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Uzbekistan “that, although the Constitution and the domestic laws provide for the equality of all citizens, they do not contain a definition of discrimination against women modelled on article 1 of the Convention, which prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination. The Committee also expresses its concern about the status of the Convention, and whether its provisions can be directly invoked before the courts. The Committee calls upon the Government to include the definition of discrimination against women in article 1 of the Convention in its Constitution and national legislation.” May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee told the Czech Republic “that a definition of discrimination modelled on article 1 of the Convention be incorporated in the Constitution and other relevant laws.” January 27, 2000, the CEDAW Committee told Jordan “that, although article 6 of the Jordanian Constitution contains the principle of equality of all Jordanians before the law, it does not contain a specific provision stating that there shall be no discrimination either de jure or de facto on the ground of sex. The Committee calls on the Government to encourage a constitutional amendment to incorporate equality on the basis of sex in article 6 of the Constitution and to reflect fully article 1 of the Convention in the Constitution. The Committee is also concerned that although the Convention acquired the force of law within the country upon ratification it has still not been published in the Official Gazette, which is a prerequisite to it becoming legally binding. The Committee urges the Government to publish the Convention in the Official Gazette without delay, and to initiate necessary legislative action to make the Convention enforceable in courts. The Committee further calls on the Government to undertake a review of all existing legislation to bring it fully into compliance with the amended Constitution and the Convention.”

PRESSURE TO WITHDRAW RESERVATIONS:

  • January 21, 2000, the CEDAW Committee told Luxembourg “to undertake awareness-raising and education campaigns to overcome traditional and stereotypical images of women and men so as to enable it to withdraw its reservation to article 16.” (Article 16 deals with marriage and family.)

February 2, 2001, the CEDAW Committee criticized Egypt “that these reservations entered by the State party upon ratification have been retained. The Committee urges the State party to expedite the steps necessary for the withdrawal of its reservations and in that regard draws its attention to the Committee’s statement on reservations in its report on its nineteenth session 8 and, in particular, its view that articles 2 and 16 are central to the object and purpose of the Convention and that, in accordance with article 28, paragraph 2, they should be withdrawn.” February 3, 1999, the CEDAW Committee noted “with concern that China has entered seven reservations and declarations in respect of the provisions of the Convention as applied to Hong Kong. Of particular concern is the reservation exempting ‘the affairs of religious denominations or orders’ from the scope of the Convention.” February 3, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Hong Kong (China) “to review regularly the reservations entered to the Convention. It urges the Government to amend all laws that are incompatible with the Convention, including those relating to immigration and to pension schemes, with a view to removing the relevant reservations.” January 21, 2000, the CEDAW Committee reprimanded Luxembourg that “no further progress has been made in withdrawing the reservations concerning articles 7 (hereditary transmission of the crown to the oldest male) and 16 (g) (right to choose the family name of the children). With regard to the latter, the Committee expresses its concern at the lack of governmental commitment to working towards influencing cultural traditions and attitudes which would allow for a withdrawal of the reservation.” July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee praised Netherlands “for its willingness to place objections to reservations entered by other States parties that it considers incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention.” July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee praised Sweden “for its willingness to place objections to reservations entered by other States parties that it considers incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention.” July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee told Singapore “The Committee considers that the State party’s reservations impede full implementation of the Convention.” February 2, 2001, the CEDAW Committee criticized Maldives for “reservations entered by the State party to articles 7 (a) and 16 of the Convention. It is concerned that the reservation to article 7 (a) on political participation supports the retention of legislative provisions that exclude women from the office of President and Vice-President of the country. The Committee urges the Government to withdraw these reservations and to repeal legislation limiting women’s political participation in public life.” July 1,1999, the CEDAW Committee praised United Kingdom and Northern Ireland “for withdrawing some reservations entered to the Convention upon ratification and on the fact that remaining reservations are kept under review.” February 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Liechtenstein it “welcomes the Government’s withdrawal of its reservation to the Convention.”

COSTS TO TAXPAYERS:

  • January 27, 1997, the CEDAW Committee told Denmark “that the value of non-remunerated work done by both men and women should be included in national accounts, through satellite accounts.”

July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee urged Nicaragua “to provide the Nicaraguan Institute for Women with the required finances, personnel and political decision-making capacity to enable it to influence effectively the promotion of gender equality in Nicaragua.” January 29, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Trinidad and Tobago it “is concerned about an apparent lack of a comprehensive, coordinated structure for gender mainstreaming The Committee encourages the Government to continue its process of restructuring the national machinery and to allocate the necessary human and financial resources to ensure effective implementation of governmental policies and programmes related to gender equality. It also encourages gender mainstreaming in all ministries.” May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee told the Czech Republic to “give impetus to the establishment of an adequately resourced national machinery with a clear mandate to implement, coordinate and monitor the provisions of the Convention.” February 4, 1999, the CEDAW Committee criticized Columbia “that little has been done to disseminate the text of the Convention, as required under the constitutional provisions governing the rights of women. ” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Nepal “to launch gender sensitization and advocacy programmes aimed at the civil service and opinion leaders, political decision makers, health professionals and law enforcement officials so as to ensure that a clear understanding of the obligations under the Convention is achieved.” To every country, the CEDAW Committee urges, “that a campaign be conducted to educate women about the content of the Convention,” and “the wide dissemination in [the country addressed] of the present concluding comments [CEDAW Committee’s report] to make [citizens] aware ofthe further steps required.”

REDUCING PROTECTION OF PREGNANT WOMEN:

  • January 31, 2000, the CEDAW Committee urged Belarus to “review its occupational health and safety legislation and standards, with a view to reducing protective standards which often have a discriminatory effect on women in general and pregnant women in particular.”

May 14, 1998, the CEDAW Committee criticized the Czech Republic for “the increase in over-protective measures for pregnancy and motherhood, as well as early retirement policies for women. It also noted that the cultural glorification of women’s family roles could exacerbate the negative impact of economic rationalization policies on women.” January 28, 2002, the CEDAW Committee told Russia it is “concerned about the exclusion of women of childbearing age from a list of 456 jobs, which may result in the effective exclusion of women from certain employment sectors.” July 1, 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Georgia “that existing occupational health standards relating to women will result in discrimination against them in a labour market that is based on a market economy. The Committee recommends that existing occupational health standards be amended and that all such standards that directly or indirectly discriminate against women be repealed.”

EXPECTATIONS OF COUNTRIES’ OBLIGATIONS TO COMMITTEE:

  • January 27, 1997, the CEDAW Committee told Denmark to report back on “the steps taken by trade unions and business organizations to implement the principle of equal pay for work of equal value; the use, in cases of abortion, of the RU-486 pill; the number of women who use medically assisted reproduction techniques and the number of children adopted.”

January 21, 2000, the CEDAW Committee told Luxembourg to report back on “data on smoking by women and smoking-related diseases.” July 31, 2001, the CEDAW Committee derided Singapore “about the lack of clear understanding by the Government of Singapore regarding gender mainstreaming with respect to legislation, policies and programmes.” February 2, 2001, the CEDAW Committee urged Egypt to “to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the ConventionThe Committee requests the Government to respond to the concerns expressed in the present concluding comments in its next periodic report submitted under article 18 of the Convention.”

WOMEN IN POTENTIAL COMBAT POSITIONS:

  • August 12, 1997, the CEDAW Committee told Italy it “was pleased to note the promotion of the role of women as peacekeepers in different parts of the world.”

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