A brief history


CEDAW is important for St Helena. Read about its history…


The United Nations asks a group of experts belonging to various governments to recommended ways to improve the lives of women. This group is known as the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).


The CSW develops a number of agreements that protect women’s right to their nationality, and also their rights in politics and marriage.


The CSW starts to prepare an international agreement called the Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. This document talks about the equal rights of women and men. Although governments agree to the Declaration, this does not require them to take on a legal duty.


This year is made the UN International Women’s Year. A World Conference is held where it is agreed that a convention on the elimination of discrimination against women should be written. A convention is different from a declaration because it sets up a legal duty for governments.


The United Nations agrees that it needs a Convention. It also makes these ten years the United Nations Decade for Women.

18th December 1979

The Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women is agreed by the United Nations General Assembly.

July 1981

The UK signs up to CEDAW.

April 1986

The UK ratifies CEDAW.


UN Human Rights Conference in Vienna adopts Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women.


A UN Conference on Women is held in Beijing, China.

17th March 2017

CEDAW is extended to St Helena.

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