Women’s Human Rights
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7 March 2015

March 8 is International Women’s Day.    The development of women’s human rights as a matter of law is central the development of human rights law generally.    In the century and a half before World War II, women’s rights activists worked at national level to achieve the vote; to end the strictures of patriarchal roles, including exclusion from various parts of the social, economic and political world; to achieve protection for women sex workers; to name only several.     After World War II, human rights became anchored in the international legal order, as a result of the United Nations Charter and subsequent developments.     The internationalization of human rights provided a powerful context for women’s rights activists to advance the human rights of women.   One major achievement was the adoption in 1979 of a particular human rights treaty committing states to end discrimination against women – the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).    Recent decades have seen strong developments in areas newly prioritized, such as ending all forms of violence against women, as well as strong attention to the situation of minority and indigenous women and girls, as well as other stigmatized categories.  These positive developments notwithstanding, challenges remain:   although 188 states have to date ratified the CEDAW treaty, it is the human rights treaty with the most reservations, meaning that states have not accepted particular provisions of the treaty.   This is particularly the case around equal rights of property ownership and inheritance for women and men, as well as other aspects of family law.     And of course major issues of implementation remain – every country in the world, even those which have accepted all aspects of international law in this area, have challenges and aspects of inequality of women in need of redress and further efforts.    

Further information on the CEDAW Convention, including links to general commentary by the CEDAW Committee and possibilities for civil society, individuals and groups to engage the Convention are available at: http://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/cedaw/pages/cedawindex.aspx.

The 2013 Concluding Observations of the CEDAW Committee concerning the Republic of Moldova: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=812&Lang=en. Unofficial Romanian translation of the 2013 Moldova Concluding Observations is available by visiting www.egalitatedegen.md

  • supporting document CEDAW_C_MDA_CO_4-5_15522_E update.doc
  • supporting document CEDAW_C_MDA_CO_4-5_15522_E_rom.doc
  • supporting document CEDAW_C_MDA_CO_4-5_15522_E - ru.docx

  • UN Partner Agencies