Without Prejudice

CEDAW and the determination of women's rights in a legal and cultural context

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CEDAW – the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women – is a powerful international human rights instrument that reflects a global determination to achieve gender equality. Turning aspiration into reality presents many challenges, particularly in relation to the process of adjudicating on women’s rights in both legal and cultural contexts.

This book looks at the range of cultural and legal challenges relating to the implementation of CEDAW, and the individual approaches adopted in various jurisdictions and contexts across the Commonwealth. Commonwealth declarations in support of CEDAW and initiatives from numerous Commonwealth countries are brought together here to support continuing efforts to address these issues.

This practical guide will inform and assist judges, adjudicators, lawyers and activists to advance the implementation of the principles of CEDAW within jurisdictions connected historically by the application of the common law.

Find out more about [email protected] here http://www.unifem.org/cedaw30/



CEDAW: reflections on the framework in the context of culture, Farida Shaheed

In Pakistan, CEDAW’s adoption went unnoticed: 1979 was a traumatic year marked by a military dictatorship hanging the elected Prime Minister. In September 1981, when CEDAW came into force, I was engrossed in mobilising the women’s rights lobby, Women’s Action Forum, to mount collective resistance to the military’s misogynistic campaign. Until 1988 and the return of democracy, the need to counter daily threats to rights within the country consumed all time and energies. Even afterwards, only a few activists were engaged in the UN system processes. It was not until 1993–94, in the build up to Fourth World Conference on Women, that some of us started pressing the government to sign CEDAW.


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