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Watching over the rights of women

Jones, Helen and Wachala, Kas (2006) Watching over the rights of women. Social policy and society, 5 (1). pp. 127-136. ISSN 1474-7464


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This article examines the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to critically consider its effectiveness as a bill of rights for women. After having discussed the need for such a convention for women it examines the vital role that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) play in the implementation of the Convention. As of March 2005, 180 countries – 90 per cent of the members of the United Nations – were party to this Convention. However, the document is one of the most highly reserved international human rights instruments and although many nations have ratified the Convention they have done so conditionally. Despite these reservations, women's NGOs have used CEDAW as a powerful tool to effect change. Yet, whilst CEDAW has been heralded as a significant step in the development of international human rights, women across the globe still suffer abuse because they are women. There is a need therefore to suggest ways forward in order to ensure the improvement of human rights for women.

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