What it means to you


The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was extended to St Helena on 16th March 2017


CEDAW is an international agreement which list the rights of all women and encourages real equality between girls/women and boys/men. In some parts of the world, women are treated unfairly because of being female. They may not get proper education or health care. Women may not be able to get jobs, vote or run for elections.

In extending CEDAW to St Helena, our government agrees to do everything possible to guarantee the rights in CEDAW, including making them a part of our laws. They will have a duty to end discrimination faced by women here.

Rights Protected

For example women will, in time have the following rights protected:

  • Equal pay for equal work;

  • Protection from discrimination due to pregnancy, childbirth and child raising;

  • Maternity leave/pay;

  • Live free from gender stereotyping;

  • Live free from sexual harassment.

Why care about CEDAW?

Gender Equality The Equality and Human Rights Commission CEDAW

CEDAW helps women of every age to claim their rights. Even though CEDAW mainly refers to ‘women’ and not ‘girls’, CEDAW helps girls to claim their rights at all stages of life. If a girl learns how to claim her rights while she is still a child, she is more likely to be able to enjoy her rights as a woman.

Why should boys and men care about CEDAW?

When women exercise their rights, it benefits everyone including men. Educated, healthy and skilled women and men come together to build a better future themselves, their families, communities and nations.

When men support women to claim their rights, they have better relationships with girls and women in their lives. Boys and men can support women in realizing their rights in many ways. In their homes, schools and communities, men can change attitudes and behavior towards women. Men can also make women feel safe, encouraged ad supported to assert the rights that CEDAW says they have.

What does CEDAW actually say?

CEDAW has 30 articles that explain what girl’s and women’s rights are and what governments should do to end discrimination against them.

CEDAW wordle The Equality and Human Rights Commission

Article 1: Discrimination

Discrimination against women means directly or indirectly treating women differently from men in a way which prevents them from enjoying their rights.

Article 2: Policy measures

Government must not allow discrimination against women. There must belaws and policies to protect them from any discrimination. All national laws and policies must be based on equality of women and men. There should be punishment for not following the law.

Article 3: Guarantee of basic human rights and freedoms

Governments must take actions in all fields- political, social, economic, and cultural- to ensure women can enjoy basic human rights and freedoms.

Article 4: Special measures

Governments should take special actions to end discrimination against women. The special actions that favor women are not a way of discriminating against men. They are meant to speed up equality between women and men. These specific measures should last until equality between men and women are achieved.

Article 5: Roles based on stereotypes

Governments must work to change stereotypes about women and men, especially if these roles are based on men being considered better than women.

Article 6: Trafficking and prostitution

Governments must take action, including making new laws, to end trafficking and prostitution of women.

Article 7: Political and public life

Women have the same right to vote and be elected to government positions. Women have the right to take part in the decisions a government makes and the way it carries it out. They have the right to participate in non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Article 8: Participation at the international level

Women have the right to represent their country at the international level and to participate in the work of international organizations [such as the United Nations, the European Union, among many others].

Article 9: Nationality

Women have the right to have a nationality, and to change it if they want. A woman’s nationality should not be changed automatically just because she got married, or because her husband changed his nationality. Women can pass on their nationality to their children, the same as men.

Article 10: Education

Governments must end discrimination against women in education. Women have a right to education, just as men do. Women should have an access to career guidance and professional training at all levels; to studies and schools; to examinations, teaching staff, school buildings, and equipment; and opportunities to get scholarships and grants, the same as men. Women have the right to take part in sports and physical education, and to get the specific information to ensure the health and well-being of families. Governments should make sure girls do not drop out of school. They should also help women who have left school early to return and complete their education.

Article 11: Employment

Women have a right to work just like men. They should be able to join a profession of their choice. Women must have the same chances to find work, get equal pay, promotion and training and have access to healthy and safe working conditions. Women should not be discriminated against because they are married, pregnant, just had a child or are looking after children. Women should get the same assistance from the government for retirement, unemployment, sickness and old age.

Article 12: Health

Governments must make sure that women are not discriminated against in health care. Women must get health care on the same terms as boys/men. In particular, women have the right to services related to family planning and pregnancy.

Article 13: Economic and social life

Women have the same rights as men in all areas of economic and social life, like getting family benefits, getting bank loans and taking part in sports and cultural life.

Article 14: Rural Women

Governments must do something about the problems of women living in rural areas and help them look after and contribute t their families and communities. Women in rural areas must be support to take part in and benefit from rural development, health care, loans, education and proper living conditions, just like boys and men do. Rural girls and women have a right to set up their own groups and associations.

Article 15: Law

Women and men are equal before the law, including laws about freedom to go where they choose, choosing where to live, signing contracts and buying and selling of properties. Women have the same ‘legal capacity’ as men.

Article 16: marriage and family life

Women havethe same rights as men to choose whom they marry, the number of children they want to have and to care for them when they are born. Women also have equal right to the property that they get with their husband while they are married. To end child marriage, governments must set a lowest age for marriage and make sure this is followed. All marriages must be registered.

Articles 17-22:

these articles set up the committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (the CEDAW Committee) to review what progress has been made by countries. These articles say how the Committee works.

Articles 23-30:

These articles deal with the administration (or management) of the Convention. The articles say how the United Nations and governments should work together to make sure rights of women are protected. The articles also say how disagreements between governments about women’s rights can be settled.

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