The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the international human rights treaty for women, was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 30 years ago, on 18 December 1979. In 2009, we are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Optional Protocol to the Convention, which empowers the CEDAW Committee to hear complaints of rights violations brought by individuals. To date, 186 countries have ratified the Convention and 98 of these countries have ratified the Optional Protocol.
The Convention’s 30th Anniversary provides an occasion to celebrate its near-universal ratification, as well as the recent progress that has been made at the national level to implement CEDAW and make true gains for women’s and girls’ rights on a practical, everyday level. Through the passage of new constitutions as well as national laws and policies based on the principle of gender equality, women’s human rights are now becoming national standards. The leadership that has already been demonstrated should be built upon to support States that lack the knowledge, commitment, or legal framework to advance the implementation of the Convention within their jurisdictions.
This website highlights a number of successful stories of the Convention’s implementation from around the world, which serve to illustrate how national partners and the global community can work together to ensure gender equality is a reality for all women and girls.
Kenyan Courts Protect Women’s Inheritance Rights
As a result of Kenya’s courts’ forcefully asserting that the principle of gender equality must be respected despite traditional biases in favour of men, women and girls are getting a fairer share of inheritance. Kenya’s Court of Appeal made an important decision in 2005 that directly addressed the conflict between discrimination against women built into customary laws on inheriting family property, and the guarantee of gender equality in Kenya’s Constitution, the African Charter, and CEDAW. read more »