Promoting Gender Equality Using CEDAW: The Case of Zambia

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 10:44 AM
Room: 303
Oral Presentation
Lwendo Moonzwe DAVIS , ICF International
In 1963, the UN began to prepare language for a single instrument describing the rights of women; this declaration was drafted to lay the foundation for a treaty that specifically addressed issues pertaining to women’s rights. In 1979, the General Assembly adopted CEDAW and it entered into effect in 1981. The Republic of Zambia ratified the convention on June 12 1985. Zambia has submitted two reports in prudence of CEDAW’s Article 18; the third and fourth reports that covered the period from 1964 to 1997 and the fifth and sixth report submitted in 2007. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has reviewed both these reports and published summary of records of the proceedings. This study analyzes the reports submitted to the CEDAW committee, the records of the proceedings and data from a study conducted in a peri-urban settlement in Lusaka, Zambia, which includes observations, secondary analysis of in-country newspapers, 60 in-depth qualitative interviews with and the administration of a survey instrument to 205 women in the study community. Findings suggest that since its ratification, various parties have deployed elements of CEDAW in an effort to address gender inequality. This paper discuss the progress the country has made since it ratified the convention in 1985 and the ways it has negotiated customary laws and traditional practices, which are often in direct contradiction with the principle of CEDAW. The findings show how the settlement has adopted elements of the convention to improve gender equality, individuals describe the changes in their community, and the convention can be further implemented to increase the rights of women in Zambia. This case offers important implications of how multiple agencies can effectively utilize CEDAW as leverage, and at times succeed, in changing negative gender ideologies.