Soroptimists advocate for women and girls at CEDAW

SOROPTIMIST REPRESENTATIVE ADVOCATES FOR THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND
GIRLS AT CEDAW

The 65th session of the Committee on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is taking place in Geneva 24 October – 18 November 2016. Soroptimist
International’s UN Representatives in Geneva, Wilfreda Hendrickx, Sabine Kinzer
and Sina Stiffler, are in attendance together with Soroptimist International President, Yvonne Simpson, Soroptimist International Director of Advocacy, Pat Black; Soroptimist International President
Elect, Mariet Verhoef Cohen, and Catherine Scheurer-Tribolet, Past Swiss
Union President of Soroptimist International.

 

The
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
(CEDAW) was adopted in 1979 and entered into force in 1981. The
former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, referred to the
Convention as “a landmark”, because it aims at securing equal rights of men and
women in practice.  It is the most comprehensive treaty on women’s human
rights. It has often been referred to as the “international bill of rights for
women” because it establishes legally binding obligations to end discrimination
and provides comprehensive guidelines to all States parties for adopting anti-discriminatory
policies.

CEDAW defines discrimination against women as “… any
distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the
effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment of
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.”

Since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
(CEDAW) in 1979, great strides in gender equality have been made. The gender disparity
for women and girls with regard to educational enrolment, life expectancy and labour
force participation has considerably shrunk. Yet gender gaps persist,
particularly with regard to higher mortality rates of girls and women,
disparities in girls’ education, unequal access to economic opportunities and
differences in household and societal decision-making.

NGOs such as Soroptimist
International, provide a significant contribution to this review process by
reporting the experiences of women and girls in their communities. The
following countries’ reports on their progress in achieving women’s rights
are being considered: 

·        
Argentina

·        
Armenia

·        
Bangladesh

·        
Belarus

·        
Bhutan

·        
Burundi

·        
Canada

·        
Estonia

·        
Honduras

·        
Netherlands

·        
Switzerland

You can read more about the countries under review here.

 

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