Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 101
Organised by Singapore Association of Women Lawyers in conjunction with Maxwell Chambers
The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly, is an international treaty that aims to achieve equality between men & women and to end discrimination that women face in all areas of their lives. It defines what constitutes discrimination against women and what governments should do to end such discrimination. Since it took effect in September 1981, it has been ratified by 189 states, including Singapore in 1995.
As a signatory to CEDAW, Singapore is legally obliged to align with CEDAW standards. As such, CEDAW was a driver behind introduction of several laws including Protection of Harassment Act, Prevention of Human Trafficking Act, removal of marital immunity for rape, changes in Evidence Act to protect victims of sexual violence, changes in law to provide better protection for unfair dismissal in employment. Understanding CEDAW and its processes will therefore be useful and instructive to legal practitioners who wish to anticipate and understand future trends.