Business and Professional Women of the Triangle

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BPW/Triangle develops a powerful network of leaders to advocate, educate and cultivate connections.

Building Powerful Women

31st Anniversary of CEDAW

  • 03 Sep 2012
  • Nationwide

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is an international convention adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly. Described as an international bill of rights for women, it came into force on September 3, 1981.


The Convention defines discrimination against women in the following terms:

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.

It also establishes an agenda of action for putting an end to sex-based discrimination:

States must take measures to seek to eliminate prejudices and customs based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of one sex or on stereotyped role for men and women.

States ratifying the Convention are required to enshrine gender equality into their domestic legislation, repeal all discriminatory provisions in their laws, and enact new provisions to guard against discrimination against women.

However, special protection for maternity is not regarded as gender discrimination. Appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of trafficking in women and forced prostitution are also not regarded as gender discrimination.

Equal opportunity in education for female students is required, and coeducation is encouraged.

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