Implementing CEDAW in Britain

The UK and CEDAW

The implementation of CEDAW is monitored by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. State parties must submit a report to the committee every four years, setting out how they are implementing the convention. When the committee meets, it considers each state party's report and makes concluding observations and recommendations to the state party. For more information on the work of the committee and the types of recommendations it makes see the UN Women website.

On 10 June 2011 the Government Equalities Office submitted the UK Government's  seventh periodic report on implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women to the UN. The report covers developments over the last four years in areas such as health, employment, education, representation, social and economic benefits, sex role stereotyping, trafficking and marriage and family law. It also provides an update on the situation of women in the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories to which CEDAW has been extended. The Commission will be engaging independently in the UN review process, including advising the CEDAW Committee on key gender equality challenges in the UK, engaging with NGOs and commenting on the Government report. The UK examination by the UN CEDAW Committee is scheduled for July 2013.

The Commission and CEDAW

As Great Britain's independent statutory body for equality and human rights and a UN accredited national human rights institution, we will integrate CEDAW into all our work on gender equality and human rights.

For example, our Map of Gaps study earlier this year identified significant gaps in the provision of services to help women escape and recover from violence and abuse. As part of the legal enforcement dimension of the project, last month we issued compliance notices to three local authorities who have failed to publish Gender Equality Schemes in compliance with their legal obligations. The purpose of a Gender Equality Scheme is to ensure that public authorities have an in-built mechanism by which they consistently and thoroughly consider the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment and to promote equality of opportunity between men and women. This applies across their employment practices and the delivery of their services, including the extent of the need for the provision of specialist services such as domestic violence and rape crisis centres for women who have experienced violence. 

We recently published our Human Rights Strategy for the next three years, and one of the five priorities set out in the strategy is to create and promote widespread awareness and accurate understanding of human rights at all levels of society, including how they can be used by individuals and applied by public, private and voluntary organisations. We have been working with stakeholders and partners to do this. In March this year the Commission co-hosted a capacity building conference with the Women's Resource Centre for the women’s non-governmental organisations sector to raise awareness of CEDAW and how to engage with UN processes. There were a range of expert speakers on the day and the event attracted over 100 delegates.  In November we ran a well attended workshop at Womankind and One World Action's international CEDAW conference on the Commission’s role as a national human rights institution and our perspective on CEDAW.

As mentioned above we submitted a shadow report to the Committee for CEDAW's 41st session on the progress in Britain in relation to CEDAW. 

During the next twelve months, we plan to undertake an audit of Great Britain's progress on CEDAW. We aim to look at each article of the convention, focusing particularly on the concluding recommendations made by the committee, in order to measure the where progress is being made and where more work might be needed.

Autumn 2012 update

The Commission has submitted a list of issues for the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Committee pre-sessional working group meeting.

The Commission will attend the Committee’s 53rd Pre Session and deliver a statement on the list of issues to be selected for the UK examination in July 2013.

Further information about the 53rd Session can be found here.

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