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UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION


PREAMBLE
PART I

Discrimination (Article 1)
Policy
Measures (Article 2)

Guarantee of Basic Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms (Article 3)

Special Measures
(Article 4)

Sex Role Stereotyping and Prejudice (Article
5)

Prostitution (Article 6)
PART
II

Political and Public Life (Article 7)

Representation (Article 8)
Nationality
(Article 9)

PART III
Education
(Article 10)

Employment (Article 11 )

Health (Article 12)
Economic and Social
Benefits (Article 13)

Rural Women (Article 14)

PART IV
Law (Article 15)

Marriage and Family Life (Article 16)
PART
V

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against
Women (Article 17)

National Reports (Article 18)

Rules of Procedure (Article 19)
Committee
Meetings (Article 20)

Committee Reports (Article
21)

Role of Specialized Agencies (Article 22)

PART VI
Effect on Other Treaties (Article
23)

Commitment of States Parties (Article 24)

Administration of the Convention (Articles 25-30)


PREAMBLE

The States Parties to the present Convention,
Noting that the
Charter of the United Nations reaffirms faith in fundamental human rights, in
the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and
women,
Noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the
principle of the inadmissibility of discrimination and proclaims that all human
beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is
entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction
of any kind, including distinction based on sex,
Noting that the States
Parties to the International Covenants on Human Rights have the obligation to
ensure the equal rights of men and women to enjoy all economic, social,
cultural, civil and political rights, Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women
Considering the international
conventions concluded under the auspices of the United Nations and the
specialized agencies promoting equality of rights of men and women,
Noting
also the resolutions, declarations and recommendations adopted by the United
Nations and the specialized agencies promoting equality of rights of men and
women,
Concerned, however, that despite these various instruments extensive
discrimination against women continues to exist,
Recalling that
discrimination against women violates the principles of equality of rights and
respect for human dignity, is an obstacle to the participation of women, on
equal terms with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life of
their countries, hampers the growth of the prosperity of society and the family
and makes more difficult the full development of the potentialities of women in
the service of their countries and of humanity,
Concerned that in
situations of poverty women have the least access to food, health, education,
training and opportunities for employment and other needs,
Convinced that
the establishment of the new international economic order based on equity and
justice will contribute significantly towards the promotion of equality between
men and women, Emphasizing that the eradication of apartheid, all forms of
racism, racial discrimination, colonialism, neo-colonialism, aggression,
foreign occupation and domination and interference in the internal affairs of
States is essential to the full enjoyment of the rights of men and women,

Affirming that the strengthening of international peace and security, the
relaxation of international tension, mutual co-operation among all States
irrespective of their social and economic systems, general and complete
disarmament, in particular nuclear disarmament under strict and effective
international control, the affirmation of the principles of justice, equality
and mutual benefit in relations among countries and the realization of the
right of peoples under alien and colonial domination and foreign occupation to
self-determination and independence, as well as respect for national
sovereignty and territorial integrity, will promote social progress and
development and as a consequence will contribute to the attainment of full
equality between men and women,
Convinced that the full and complete
development of a country, the welfare of the world and the cause of peace
require the maximum participation of women on equal terms with men in all
fields,
Bearing in mind the great contribution of women to the welfare of
the family and to the development of society, so far not fully recognized, the
social significance of maternity and the role of both parents in the family and
in the upbringing of children, and aware that the role of women in procreation
should not be a basis for discrimination but that the upbringing of children
requires a sharing of responsibility between men and women and society as a
whole,
Aware that a change in the traditional role of men as well as the
role of women in society and in the family is needed to achieve full equality
between men and women,
Determined to implement the principles set forth in
the Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and, for
that purpose, to adopt the measures required for the elimination of such
discrimination in all its forms and manifestations, Have agreed on the
following:

PART I


Article 1
For the purposes of the present Convention, the term “discrimination
against women” shall mean 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.


Article 2
States Parties condemn discrimination against women in all its forms, agree to
pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating
discrimination against women and, to this end, undertake:



  • (a) To embody the principle of the equality of men and women in their
    national constitutions or other appropriate legislation if not yet incorporated
    therein and to ensure, through law and other appropriate means, the practical
    realization of this principle;

  • (b) To adopt appropriate legislative and other measures, including
    sanctions where appropriate, prohibiting all discrimination against women;

  • (c) To establish legal protection of the rights of women on an equal
    basis with men and to ensure through competent national tribunals and other
    public institutions the effective protection of women against any act of
    discrimination;

  • (d) To refrain from engaging in any act or practice of discrimination
    against women and to ensure that public authorities and institutions shall act
    in conformity with this obligation;

  • (e) To take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination
    against women by any person, organization or enterprise;

  • (f) To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to
    modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which
    constitute discrimination against women;

  • (g) To repeal all national penal provisions which constitute
    discrimination against women.


Article 3 States Parties shall take in all fields, in particular in the
political, social, economic and cultural fields, all appropriate measures,
including legislation, to en sure the full development and advancement of women
, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human
rights and fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men.


Article 4
§1. Adoption by States Parties of temporary special
measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women shall
not be considered discrimination as defined in the present Convention, but
shall in no way entail as a consequence the maintenance of unequal or separate
standards; these measures shall be discontinued when the objectives of equality
of opportunity and treatment have been achieved.
§2. Adoption by
States Parties of special measures, including those measures contained in the
present Convention, aimed at protecting maternity shall not be considered
discriminatory.


Article 5 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures:



  • (a) To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and
    women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and
    all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the
    superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women;

  • (b) To ensure that family education includes a proper understanding
    of maternity as a social function and the recognition of the common
    responsibility of men and women in the upbringing and development of their
    children, it being understood that the interest of the children is the
    primordial consideration in all cases.


Article 6 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including
legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of
prostitution of women.


PART II


Article 7 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to
eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life of the
country and, in particular, shall ensure to women, on equal terms with men, the
right:



  • (a) To vote in all elections and public referenda and to be eligible
    for election to all publicly elected bodies;

  • (b) To participate in the formulation of government policy and the
    implementation thereof and to hold public office and perform all public
    functions at all levels of government;

  • (c) To participate in non-governmental organizations and associations
    concerned with the public and political life of the country.


Article 8 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure to women, on equal terms with men and without any discrimination, the
opportunity to represent their Governments at the international level and to
participate in the work of international organizations.


Article 9
§1. States Parties shall grant women equal rights
with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality. They shall ensure in
particular that neither marriage to an alien nor change of nationality by the
husband during marriage shall automatically change the nationality of the wife,
render her stateless or force upon her the nationality of the husband.

§2. States Parties shall grant women equal rights with men with
respect to the nationality of their children.


PART III


Article 10 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to
eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure to them equal rights
with men in the field of education and in particular to ensure, on a basis of
equality of men and women:



  • (a) The same conditions for career and vocational guidance, for
    access to studies and for the achievement of diplomas in educational
    establishments of all categories in rural as well as in urban areas; this
    equality shall be ensured in pre-school, general, technical, professional and
    higher technical education, as well as in all types of vocational training;

  • (b) Access to the same curricula, the same examinations, teaching
    staff with qualifications of the same standard and school premises and
    equipment of the same quality;

  • (c) The elimination of any stereotyped concept of the roles of men
    and women at all levels and in all forms of education by encouraging
    coeducation and other types of education which will help to achieve this aim
    and, in particular, by the revision of textbooks and school programmes and the
    adaptation of teaching methods;

  • (d ) The same opportunities to benefit from scholarships and other
    study grants;

  • (e) The same opportunities for access to programmes of continuing
    education, including adult and functional literacy programmes, particulary
    those aimed at reducing, at the earliest possible time, any gap in education
    existing between men and women;

  • (f) The reduction of female student drop-out rates and the
    organization of programmes for girls and women who have left school
    prematurely;

  • (g) The same Opportunities to participate actively in sports and
    physical education;

  • (h) Access to specific educational information to help to ensure the
    health and well-being of families, including information and advice on family
    planning.


Article 11
§1. States Parties shall take all appropriate
measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of employment
in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same rights,
in particular:



  • (a) The right to work as an inalienable right of all human beings;

  • (b) The right to the same employment opportunities, including the
    application of the same criteria for selection in matters of employment;

  • (c) The right to free choice of profession and employment, the right
    to promotion, job security and all benefits and conditions of service and the
    right to receive vocational training and retraining, including apprenticeships,
    advanced vocational training and recurrent training;

  • (d) The right to equal remuneration, including benefits, and to
    equal treatment in respect of work of equal value, as well as equality of
    treatment in the evaluation of the quality of work;

  • (e) The right to social security, particularly in cases of
    retirement, unemployment, sickness, invalidity and old age and other incapacity
    to work, as well as the right to paid leave;

  • (f) The right to protection of health and to safety in working
    conditions, including the safeguarding of the function of reproduction.


§ 2. In order to prevent discrimination against women on the
grounds of marriage or maternity and to ensure their effective right to work,
States Parties shall take appropriate measures:



  • (a) To prohibit, subject to the imposition of sanctions, dismissal on
    the grounds of pregnancy or of maternity leave and discrimination in dismissals
    on the basis of marital status;

  • (b) To introduce maternity leave with pay or with comparable social
    benefits without loss of former employment, seniority or social
    allowances;

  • (c) To encourage the provision of the necessary supporting social
    services to enable parents to combine family obligations with work
    responsibilities and participation in public life, in particular through
    promoting the establishment and development of a network of child-care
    facilities;

  • (d) To provide special protection to women during pregnancy in types
    of work proved to be harmful to them.


§3. Protective legislation relating to matters covered in this
Article shall be reviewed periodically in the light of scientific and
technological knowledge and shall be revised, repealed or extended as
necessary.


Article
12

§1. States Parties shall take all appropriate
measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care
in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health
care services, including those related to family planning.
§2.
Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph I of this Article, States Parties
shall ensure to women appropriate services in connection with pregnancy,
confinement and the post-natal period, granting free services where necessary,
as well as adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation.


Article 13 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to
eliminate discrimination against women in other areas of economic and social
life in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same
rights, in particular:



  • (a) The right to family benefits;

  • (b) The right to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial
    credit;

  • (c) The right to participate in recreational activities, sports and
    all aspects of cultural life.


Article 14
§1. States Parties shall take into account the
particular problems faced by rural women and the significant roles which rural
women play in the economic survival of their families, including their work in
the non-monetized sectors of the economy, and shall take all appropriate
measures to ensure the application of the provisions of the present Convention
to women in rural areas.
§2. States Parties shall take all appropriate
measures to eliminate discrimination against women in rural areas in order to
ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, that they participate in and
benefit from rural development and, in particular, shall ensure to such women
the right:



  • (a) To participate in the elaboration and implementation of
    development planning at all levels;

  • (b) To have access to adequate health care facilities, including
    information, counselling and services in family planning;

  • (c) To benefit directly from social security programmes;

  • (d) To obtain all types of training and education, formal and
    non-formal, including that relating to functional literacy, as well as, inter
    alia, the benefit of all community and extension services, in order to increase
    their technical proficiency;

  • (e) To organize self-help groups and co-operatives in order to obtain
    equal access to economic opportunities through employment or self employment;

  • (f) To participate in all community activities;

  • (g) To have access to agricultural credit and loans, marketing
    facilities, appropriate technology and equal treatment in land and agrarian
    reform as well as in land resettlement schemes;

  • (h) To enjoy adequate living conditions, particularly in relation to
    housing, sanitation, electricity and water supply, transport and
    communications.


PART IV


Article 15
§1. States Parties shall accord to women equality
with men before the law.
§2. States Parties shall accord to women, in
civil matters, a legal capacity identical to that of men and the same
opportunities to exercise that capacity. In particular, they shall give women
equal rights to conclude contracts and to administer property and shall treat
them equally in all stages of procedure in courts and tribunals.
§3.
States Parties agree that all contracts and all other private instruments of
any kind with a legal effect which is directed at restricting the legal
capacity of women shall be deemed null and void.
§4. States Parties
shall accord to men and women the same rights with regard to the law relating
to the movement of persons and the freedom to choose their residence and
domicile.


Article 16
§1. States Parties shall take all appropriate
measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to
marriage and family relations and in particular shall ensure, on a basis of
equality of men and women:



  • (a) The same right to enter into marriage;

  • (b) The same right freely to choose a spouse and to enter into
    marriage only with their free and full consent;

  • (c) The same rights and responsibilities during marriage and at its
    dissolution;

  • (d) The same rights and responsibilities as parents, irrespective of
    their marital status, in matters relating to their children; in all cases the
    interests of the children shall be paramount;

  • (e) The same rights to decide freely and responsibly on the number
    and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education
    and means to enable them to exercise these rights;

  • (f) The same rights and responsibilities with regard to guardianship,
    wardship, trusteeship and adoption of children, or similar institutions where
    these concepts exist in national legislation; in all cases the interests of the
    children shall be paramount;

  • (g) The same personal rights as husband and wife, including the right
    to choose a family name, a profession and an occupation;

  • (h) The same rights for both spouses in respect of the ownership,
    acquisition, management, administration, enjoyment and disposition of property,
    whether free of charge or for a valuable consideration.


§2. The betrothal and the marriage of a child shall have no legal
effect, and all necessary action, including legislation, shall be taken to
specify a minimum age for marriage and to make the registration of marriages in
an official registry compulsory.


PART V


Article 17
§1. For the purpose of considering the progress made
in the implementation of the present Convention, there shall be established a
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (hereinafter
referred to as the Committee) consisting, at the time of entry into force of
the Convention, of eighteen and, after ratification of or accession to the
Convention by the thirty-fifth State Party, of twenty-three experts of high
moral standing and competence in the field covered by the Convention. The
experts shall be elected by States Parties from among their nationals and shall
serve in their personal capacity, consideration being given to equitable
geographical distribution and to the representation of the different forms of
civilization as well as the principal legal systems.
§2. The members
of the Committee shall be elected by secret ballot from a list of persons
nominated by States Parties. Each State Party may nominate one person from
among its own nationals.
§3. The initial election shall be held six
months after the date of the entry into force of the present Convention. At
least three months before the date of each election the Secretary-General of
the United Nations shall address a letter to the States Parties inviting them
to submit their nominations within two months. The Secretary-General shall
prepare a list in alphabetical order of all persons thus nominated, indicating
the States Parties which have nominated them, and shall submit it to the States
Parties.
§4. Elections of the members of the Committee shall be held
at a meeting of States Parties convened by the Secretary-General at United
Nations Headquarters. At that meeting, for which two thirds of the States
Parties shall constitute a quorum, the persons elected to the Committee shall
be those nominees who obtain the largest number of votes and an absolute
majority of the votes of the representatives of States Parties present and
voting.
§5. The members of the Committee shall be elected for a term
of four years. However, the terms of nine of the members elected at the first
election shall expire at the end of two years; immediately after the first
election the names of these nine members shall be chosen by lot by the Chairman
of the Committee.
§6. The election of the five additional members of
the Committee shall be held in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs 2,
3 and 4 of this Article, following the thirty-fifth ratification or accession.
The terms of two of the additional members elected on this occasion shall
expire at the end of two years, the names of these two members having been
chosen by lot by the Chairman of the Committee.
§7. For the filling of
casual vacancies, the State Party whose expert has ceased to function as a
member of the Committee shall appoint another expert from among its nationals,
subject to the approval of the Committee.
§8. The members of the
Committee shall, with the approval of the General Assembly, receive emoluments
from United Nations resources on such terms and conditions as the Assembly may
decide, having regard to the importance of the Committee’s responsibilities.

§9. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall provide the
necessary staff and facilities for the effective performance of the functions
of the Committee under the present Convention.


Article 18
§1. States Parties undertake to submit to the
Secretary-General of the United Nations, for consideration by the Committee, a
report on the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures which
they have adopted to give effect to the provisions of the present Convention
and on the progress made in this respect:



  • (a) Within one year after the entry into force for the State
    concerned;

  • (b) Thereafter at least every four years and further whenever the
    Committee so requests.


§2. Reports may indicate factors and difficulties affecting the
degree of fulfilment of obligations under the present Convention.


Article 19
§1. The Committee shall adopt its own rules of
procedure.
§2. The Committee shall elect its officers for a term of
two years.


Article 20
§1. The Committee shall normally meet for a period
of not more than two weeks annually in order to consider the reports submitted
in accordance with Article 18 of the present Convention.
§2. The
meetings of the Committee shall normally be held at United Nations Headquarters
or at any other convenient place as determined by the Committee. (amendment,
status of ratification)


Article 21
§1. The Committee shall, through the Economic and
Social Council, report annually to the General Assembly of the United Nations
on its activities and may make suggestions and general recommendations based on
the examination of reports and information received from the States Parties.
Such suggestions and general recommendations shall be included in the report of
the Committee together with comments, if any, from States Parties.
§2.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit the reports of the
Committee to the Commission on the Status of Women for its information.


Article 22 The specialized agencies shall be entitled to be represented
at the consideration of the implementation of such provisions of the present
Convention as fall within the scope of their activities. The Committee may
invite the specialized agencies to submit reports on the implementation of the
Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activities.


PART VI


Article 23 Nothing in the present Convention shall affect any provisions
that are more conducive to the achievement of equality between men and women
which may be contained:



  • (a) In the legislation of a State Party; or

  • (b) In any other international convention, treaty or agreement in
    force for that State.


Article 24 States Parties undertake to adopt all necessary measures at
the national level aimed at achieving the full realization of the rights
recognized in the present Convention.


Article 25
§1. The present Convention shall be open for
signature by all States.
§2. The Secretary-General of the United
Nations is designated as the depositary of the present Convention.
§3.
The present Convention is subject to ratification. Instruments of ratification
shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

§4. The present Convention shall be open to accession by all States.
Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with
the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


Article 26
§1. A request for the revision of the present
Convention may be made at any time by any State Party by means of a
notification in writing addressed to the Secretary-General of the United
Nations.
§2. The General Assembly of the United Nations shall decide
upon the steps, if any, to be taken in respect of such a request.


Article 27
§1. The present Convention shall enter into force on
the thirtieth day after the date of deposit with the Secretary-General of the
United Nations of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.

§2. For each State ratifying the present Convention or acceding to it
after the deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession, the
Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the
deposit of its own instrument of ratification or accession.


Article 28
§1. The Secretary-General of the United Nations
shall receive and circulate to all States the text of reservations made by
States at the time of ratification or accession.
§2. A reservation
incompatible with the object and purpose of the present Convention shall not be
permitted.
§3. Reservations may be withdrawn at any time by
notification to this effect addressed to the Secretary-General of the United
Nations, who shall then inform all States thereof. Such notification shall take
effect on the date on which it is received.


Article 29
§1. Any dispute between two or more States Parties
concerning the interpretation or application of the present Convention which is
not settled by negotiation shall, at the request of one of them, be submitted
to arbitration. If within six months from the date of the request for
arbitration the parties are unable to agree on the organization of the
arbitration, any one of those parties may refer the dispute to the
International Court of Justice by request in conformity with the Statute of the
Court.
§2. Each State Party may at the time of signature or
ratification of the present Convention or accession thereto declare that it
does not consider itself bound by paragraph 1 of this Article. The other States
Parties shall not be bound by that paragraph with respect to any State Party
which has made such a reservation.
§3. Any State Party which has made
a reservation in accordance with paragraph 2 of this Article may at any time
withdraw that reservation by notification to the Secretary-General of the
United Nations.


Article 30 The present Convention, the Arabic, Chinese, English, French,
Russian and Spanish texts of which are equally authentic, shall be deposited
with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, duly authorized, have signed the
present Convention.


United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women Department of
Economic and Social Affairs Address: 2 UN Plaza, DC2-12th Floor, New York, NY 10017, USA Fax: +1-(212)-963-3463.