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Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination

  • Broadcast in Women
African Views

African Views


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This week’s discussion explores violence against women as the most urgent and devastating deterrent for empowering women. We would share with our audience the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discriminations against Women adopted on 18 December 1979 by the United Nations. It entered into force as an international treaty on 3 September 1981 after the twentieth country had ratified it. By the tenth anniversary of the Convention in 1989, almost one hundred nations have agreed to be bound by its provisions.


The Convention was the culmination of more than thirty years of work by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, a body established in 1946 to monitor the situation of women and to promote women's rights. The Commission's work has been instrumental in bringing to light all the areas in which women are denied equality with men. The spirit of the Convention is rooted in the goals of the United Nations, which are:  to reaffirm faith in fundamental rights, dignity, and worth of the human person.


The present document spells out the meaning of equality and how it can be achieved in fourteen subsequent articles. In so doing, the Convention establishes not only an international bill of rights for women, but also an agenda for action by countries to guarantee the enjoyment of those rights.