Between 24 October and 18 November the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) will be held in Geneva.
During the 65th edition of the convention, a committee of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the world will monitor whether countries that ratified the CEDAW are implementing it properly.
The convention strives to create gender equality between men and women. It aims to guarantee that women have equal access to — and equal opportunities in — education, health, employment, politics, and public life in general. That this goal is one of the United Nations’ top priorities was made clear when the empowerment of women and girls was adopted in the Sustainable Development Goals.
In spite of all this, discrimination against women remains a large-scale problem. Whether this be in the UK or elsewhere, gender-based discrimination is unacceptable. While women work two-thirds of all working hours and produce half of the world’s food resources, they earn a meagre 10 per cent of total world income and own less than one per cent of all properties. Moreover, in far too many cases, discrimination against women essentially means denying them universal human rights. The majority of the poorest people of the world are women.
In many countries the ownership of women over their bodies is restricted, denying them any reproductive health rights. It is true that much progress has been made, but so much more must be won across the globe. Too many women in developing countries lack access to modern contraceptives, making it difficult for them to actively regulate their fertility. But gender-based discrimination also exists in Europe — in Poland, for example, where a recently proposed abortion law would seriously restrict the rights of women.
Population Matters is committed to women’s rights. We see the elimination of gender inequality as a necessary requirement for a bright future in which all thrive.