A Cross-National Comparative Approach to CEDAW As an Instrument to Effect Women's Rights and Gender Equality

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 10:30 AM-12:20 PM
Room: 303
RC32 Women in Society (host committee)

Language: English

The Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, dubbed the “international bill of rights for women”, has been adopted and ratified by 187 of 193 countries. The US – surprisingly to some but not to all - stands out as one of the few countries, together with Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Palau, and Tonga, that have not ratified the Convention. By ratifying CEDAW, countries commit to end de jure as well as de facto discrimination against Women. Nevertheless, besides the usual gaps found between policy making and implementation, there are other issues that lead to a debate about the extent to which CEDAW has been an effective instrument to foster women’s rights and gender equality. On the one hand, the Convention has been used by women’s and feminist movements worldwide in order to demand the establishment of institutional mechanisms for monitoring and implementing gender equality policies, plans and programs in critical areas of women's lives. On the other hand, several countries have ratified CEDAW with “reservations” that, arguably, directly or indirectly clash with the object and purpose of the Convention. This session’s objective is to allow for a cross-country comparative approach to the varied ways the Convention has been promoted – or not – by the women’s movements and governments throughout the world as a key tool to effect institutional change leading to gender equality. How - and to what extent - has CEDAW been implemented in the countries where it was ratified? Why have some countries – and notably the US - not ratified the Convention? What are the implications of that domestically and internationally? In sum, what can we learn by an international dialogue about the Convention, comparing the different contexts in which CEDAW was ratified or not, effectively implemented or not?
Session Organizers:
Solange SIMOES, Eastern Michigan University, USA and Manisha DESAI, University of Connecticut, USA
Patience ELABOR-IDEMUDIA, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
The Interplay Between CEDAW, the Brazilian Women's Movements, and Global Feminisms Agendas (Oral Presentation)
Marlise MATOS, Departamento de Ciencia Politica - UFMG, Brazil; Solange SIMOES, Eastern Michigan University, USA

Promoting Gender Equality Using CEDAW: The Case of Zambia (Oral Presentation)
Lwendo Moonzwe DAVIS, ICF International, USA

CEDAW and Women's Rights in Post-1997 Hong Kong (Oral Presentation)
Annie Hau-nung CHAN, Lingnan University, Hong Kong

High Aims, Low Outcome: Implementing Gender Equality in Japan (Oral Presentation)
Phoebe HOLDGRÜN, German Institute for Japanese Studies, Japan

CEDAW As an Instrument to Foster Women's Political Equality in Central and Eastern Europe? (Oral Presentation)
Paulina SEKULA, Jagiellonian University, Poland

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