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Transcript of CEDAW
Human Rights Declaration
It is a milestone document in the history of human rights which was drafted by various representatives from different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world.
The Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948 and it lays down common standard of achievements for all people and nations.
One of the essential points that this Declaration affirms is the prohibition of discrimination.
CEDAW was established as it served as an agreement between countries to behave in a specified way and as a result put a legal obligation on governments who ratified this convention to do all they can to respect the content and adhere to the standards set within this declaration.
1965 - 1967
CSW began to prepare an international agreement called the Declaration of the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women which encompassed equal rights for men and women. At this point, it was not yet a convention thus governments had no legal obligations towards the document.
Is made the UN International Women's Year. A World Conference was held where it was agreed that it should be a convention and not a declaration. The setting up of this convention implied that governments who ratified it where bound by law to uphold the standards stated there in.
1976 - 1985
The United Nations agreed that it needs a Convention. It also made these ten years the United Nations Decade for Women.
18th December 1979
The Convention of the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women is agreed by the United Nations General Assembly.
UN asked a group (Commission on the Status of Women) of experts belonging to various governments to recommend ways to improve the lives of women.
1949 - 1962
CSW developed a number of agreements that protect women's rights to their nationality and also their rights in politics and marriage.
It is an International document which lists
the rights of girls and women
. It collaborates with the Convention of the Rights of the Child. It states an agreement that
girls, women, boys and men are equal
and in addition to this it proclaims that
all discrimination against girls and women must end.
The convention encompasses what governments around the world have agreed to do to eliminate discrimination against girls and women.
This convention is a key human rights treaty and cannot be misinterpreted as being a "Western" idea.
188 countries out of 194 ratified the treaty. The 7 countries which have abstained include: US, Iran, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and two small Pacific Island nations - Palau & Tonga.
The convention promotes the concept of
which calls for action to be taken to ensure
equal access, equal opportunities & equal rights
for girls and women.
What do you understand by discrimination?
"Discrimination against girls and women means directly or indirectly treating girls and women differently from boys and men in a way which prevents them from enjoying their rights"
Examples of extreme gendered discrimination
Human rights of girls and women throughout the Middle East and North Africa are denied by countries in this region, despite the diversity of their political systems.
Although men also suffer from restrictions placed by the government, women & girls seem to be the most vulnerable.
1. Inability to drive
2. Clothing restrictions
3. Less rights to divorce
4. Access to education
5. Right to travel
6. Unequal rights; women vulnerable to violence
7. Custody rights
9. Sexual subjugation
Why care about CEDAW and how is it linked to CRC?
Women & children's rights are connected
If women have a good understanding of their own entitlements through education, they would be able to provide better support to their children
Protecting the rights of girls will ensure that their rights are protected as women.
If women and girls know their rights they are more likely to challenge and end discrimination.
Why should boys and men care about CEDAW?
Educated, healthy and skilled girls and women and also boys and men come together to build a better future for themselves, their families, communities and nations. It is a step towards human development.
When boys and men support girls and women to claim their rights, they have better relationships with girls and women in their lives
Boys and men can also make girls and women feel safe, encouraged and supported to assert the rights stated in the convention.
Content expressed deals with policy measures which governments must follow in order to end discrimination against girls & women.
In order for this discrimination to end, action needs to be taken in all fields including those of political, social, economic & cultural.
Convention calls for 'temporary action' to end discrimination against girls and women. 'Temporary' since once equality is reached between girls, women, boys and men existing measures must come to a halt to avoid discrimination against boys & men.
Furthermore, these articles tackle how governments can eliminate discrimination - through the development of national laws and policies that are based on equality of
Content expressed primarily explains the rights that women should benefit from and points out the fields within which these rights must be achieved.
Economic & Social Life
Rural Girls & Women
Marriage & Family life
Identifies guidelines with regards to the setting up and the functioning of the Committee.
The main role of the members forming part of the CEDAW committee is to monitor whether governments who have ratified the convention are doing their utmost to eliminate discrimination against women and girls.
Articles 23 -30
Deals mainly with the administration or management of the convention.
These articles state how the UN and the governments should work together to ensure rights of girls & women are protected.
In addition to this, they state how disagreements between governments about girls' and women's rights can be settled.
Even though 188 countries ratified the convention, this does not mean that they are doing their utmost to end discrimination against girls & women.
That said, some countries have taken their obligation to ensure equality seriously as women have partnered with their governments to engage in a national dialogue about the status of women and girls, and as a result have shaped policies to create greater safety and opportunities for women and their families.
How does CEDAW affect professionals working in the social field?
In the social field, there are a variety of services and programmes offered to men and women, boys and girls.
That said, since social workers carry out their roles in the frontlines, they should know the strengths, weaknesses and resources in their environment so that they can advocate for their service users.
It is for this reason that social workers coming into contact with these service users are to be knowledgeable about their rights and entitlements so that they can provide them with an effective service and pass on to them certain tools and resources which with ultimately lead to their own empowerment.
What has Malta done since it ratified CEDAW?
Malta is committed to promote gender equality and empowerment of girls & women in all spheres of society. Therefore, various developments in legislation and policies have come into effect since Malta ratified the convention in 1991.
That said, these changes are not enough as in conjunction to these developments, the government must also partake in raising awareness through campaign that educate the public and offer training as well as develop alternative initiatives.
To bring about the advancement of women, some developments in legislation and policies were employed. These developments took place within the following fields: gender equality, gender mainstreaming, political and public life, employment, work life balance, education, health as well as violence.
In 2004 the government developed the Equality for Men & Women Act Chapter 456 of the Laws of Malta.
As the Act suggests it safeguards equal treatment in the following fields: employment, education and financial services on grounds of gender and familial responsibility.
This act was further enhanced and amended in 2009 and included the protection on discrimination in situations when a person ‘is/ has been/would be treated' unfavorably on grounds of gender and familial responsibility.
In addition to this, Act IV of 2009 enhances the independence of the National Commission for the Protection of Equality with regards to the functions carried out by this entity.
Aside from this, further legislation has been enforced in 2008, to enhance the rights & responsibilities with regards to gender equality. As a result of this legal development, the functions of NCPE were extended to safeguard gender equality in the following ways:
Victims of discrimination provided with independent assistance in pursuing their complaints about discrimination.
Independent surveys about discrimination are conducted by NCPE.
Publishing independent reports and making recommendations on issues related to discrimination.
Since its inception NCPE has empowered several stakeholders, as well as the general public on their rights and responsibilities through training and awareness raising campaigns.
NCPE provides policymakers with valuable information and data by conducting research.
NCPE provides assistance to people who feel discriminated against by investigating their complaints.
NCPE is committed to safeguarding rights and responsibilities with regard to gender equality and empowerment of persons at risk of being discriminated against.
NCPE is currently working on an EU co-funded project entitled
Strengthening Equality beyond Legislation
where the reasons for the under reposting of discrimination cases will be analyzed.
In 2008 OPM Circular 30, the Public Service & Public sector where invited to identify discriminatory practices and policies in relation to public services. This exercise was aimed at tackling discriminatory legal, procedural and administrative policies and practices with the intention of standardizing service provision.
In addition to this, NCPE set up n Equality Committee within every Ministry to promote equality throughout all Government departments and entities.
NCPE carried out various EU co-funded projects to promote gender mainstreaming. A few of these projects included:
Gender Mainstreaming: The Way Forward launched in 2005
Affirming Gender Mainstreaming at a National Level launched in 2007
The Gender Aspect from a Legal Perspective launched in 2006
Living Equality launched in 2007 which pursued gender mainstreaming in both the public & private sector
Gender Mainstreaming in Practice - applied for funding in 2010
Political & Public Life
The Maltese political system does not discriminate against female representation in politics, even though the majority of politicians are male.
Gender balance in parliamentary and local council representation is generally fostered and acknowledged as an important element in decision-making institution.
That said, NSO conducted a study on behalf of the National Council of Women which resulted that long hours & a lack of support tend to be obstacles for women to obtain a managerial post.
Although women are underrepresented in the National Parliament women elected in the Local Councils are on the rise as 19.8% of councilors are female.
A rise in female participation in EU Parliament election is also evident as an increase can be seen from 7% in 2004 to 23.5% in 2009.
- UNICEF, 2011
Female employment rate is on the increase in Malta; in 2010 it reached 38.5%.
Fiscal measures are available to female employees and inactive women, in order to motivate them to remain or to return in the labour market
Incentives are offered - Mothers who return to the labour market after a five year absence can benefit from a one whole year exemption from income tax for every child under 16 years old
Those mothers who are already in employment and returning from maternity leave can benefit from 1 year exemption from income tax for all children born from 2007 onwards.
In 2008 paid maternity leave was increased by another week to 14 weeks
NCPE conducting a project with the intention of enhancing the participation & progress of women in the labour market & making employment more accessible.
Work Life Balance
Flexible working arrangements and special leave provisions to enhance quality of life for employees in the public sector.
Introduction of tele-working - enabling working from home.
In 2009 Family-Friendly Measures Handbook published = to promote social inclusion and to enhance a family-friendly work environment.
In 2011, The National Campaign NISTA, the benefits of sharing work-life responsibilities.
Development of Child care centres; breakfast club, and Klabb 3-16 to promote women's inclusion in the labour market.
All children have access to free education and to share the same National Minimum Curriculum.
Courses which were once marked by a clear gender are now being broken down, thus both sexes have the possibility to follow studies which once were said to be males or female courses.
NCPE gives training to teachers and students on gender equality and non-discrimination in education.
In 2007 the Health Care Services Division within the Ministry for Social Policy set up the Malta Breast Screening Programme which catered for women between the ages of 50 to 60 years to be called for screening.
Malta is also committed to support initiatives in reducing preventable maternal mortality and morbidity. What must be taken into consideration is abortion. under Chapter 4 of the Criminal Code of Malta, abortion is illegal and till today it continues not to consider itself bound to sub-paragraph (e) of paragraph 1 of Article 16 of this Convention.
Maltese has a zero tolerance for violence. Domestic Violence Act came into force in 2006 not so long ago considering Malta ratified the convention in 1991.
This Act enhances the protection of household members against domestic violence.
Set up of the Commission on Domestic Violence which oversees service development, research & data collection & national campaign plans.
What other agencies are saying about CEDAW?
and Gender Mainstreaming
Malta gay Rights Movement and Aditus Foundation - Their stand on the civil union bill is that it is an important step for the LGBTI community and for equality in marriage.
UNHCR Malta also looks at the passing of the Civil Unions Bill as being positive.
“Allows LGBTI persons to enter into a civil union at par with marriage. This will certainly have an impact on the lives of Maltese LGBTI persons, but also on the lives of LGBTU refugees enjoying protection in Malta”
On the issue of employment MGG state that there is still significant room for improvement. They are concerned that women are more likely to be in vulnerable, sex-stereotyped and lower paying forms of employment due to gender pay gaps.
Therefore they encourage the government to boost women to remain employed or to return to work by introducing tax incentives, promote lifelong learning & introduce better social protection for self-employed women.
Health & Violence
Malta Confederation of Women's Organisations met with the Minister in 2011 & listed proposals on the changes needed to be made to the 2006 Domestic Violence Act. These changes included:
Strengthening structures such as the Commission on Domestic Violence.
An increase in both financial & human resources
Maltese legislation and structures need to be in line with the standards set by the Council of Europe to ratify the convention in the shortest time possible.
MCWO identified further issues such as:
Re-defining 'house hold member'
Need for perpetrators to answer to their actions
Processionals working in this field need to be given training particularly the police