The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) aims to eliminate discrimination against women. It states: “ ...any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field”.

The UK ratified CEDAW in April 1986 after it was adopted in 1979 and entered into force in 1981. 

Under CEDAW, state bodies are required to produce reports to the UN Committee one year after consenting to the convention, and then every four years thereafter, or otherwise as directed by the Committee. These reports must outline progress and legislative, judicial and policy measures taken to fulfil their obligations under the Convention.

The last full review of the UK took place in July 2013 and accompanying Concluding Observations can be accessed here. The UK State follow up report can be accessed here with an additional addendum here.

The most recent UK State report (8th periodic report) was submitted in November 2017. The pre-session having taken place in July 2018 to determine the List of Issues.  The UK will undergo its review in February 2019.

More information on the reporting status and access to all relevant documentation including: State reports, Civil society & NHRI submissions; Concluding Observations and follow-up State reports can be accessed here.

NHRI Engagement

In order to support the UK review of CEDAW, the Commission undertook a number of activities, including:

  1. Consultation ‎with experienced civil society members to build Commission capacity to prepare the Commission’s parallel report
  2. Submission of a parallel report
  3. Providing oral evidence and attending the UK State Review
  4. Meeting with the Committee members‎ and the country rapporteur 
  5. Meeting the UK Government representative before and after the review in Geneva.

As part of each review the Commission produces a list of recommendations for the Committee to ask of the UK State. The Commission's submitted a report in 2018 for the pre-session.

Civil Society Engagement

Civil society has the potential to engage with this treaty in a number of ways:

  1. Submitting written information to the Committee
  2. Submitting an alternative report
  3. Providing information for the list of issues
  4. Attending Sessions and Making Oral Submissions to the Committee

Scottish civil society has a great deal of experience engaging with CEDAW. Submissions from Scottish Civil society can be found here.