CEDAW Call to Action

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) issued its Concluding Comments on Canada in February, 2003. It singled out B.C. for criticism because of the negative impact on women of cuts to welfare and legal aid, among other things.

Shelagh Day, who represented the B.C. CEDAW Group at the review of Canada's report, says, "The Committee states that it is concerned about the disproportionately negative impact on women and girls of a number of recent changes in British Columbia, including the cuts in funds for legal aid and welfare assistance; narrowed eligibility rules for welfare; the incorporation of the Ministry of Women's Equality under the Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services; the abolition of the independent Human Rights Commission; the closing of a number of courthouses; the cut in support programmes for victims of domestic violence and the proposed changes regarding the prosecution of domestic violence."

BC CEDAW group has issued a call to action, asking people to write to the Premier as well as their MLA, to spur the BC Government into changing some of its discriminatory policies.

What is CEDAW?

On December 18, 1979, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The call for a Women's Convention emerged from the First World Conference on Women in Mexico City in 1975. Until the UN General Assembly adopted the Women's Convention, there was no convention that addressed comprehensively women's rights within political, cultural, economic, social, and family life.

The Convention is a comprehensive and detailed international agreement which seeks the advancement of women. It establishes rights for women in areas not previously subject to international standards. The Convention provides a universal definition of discrimination against women so that those who would discriminate on the basis of sex can no longer claim that no clear definition exists. It also calls for action in nearly every field of human endeavor: politics, law, employment, education, health care, commercial transactions and domestic relations. Moreover, the Convention establishes a Committee to review periodically the progress being made by its adherents.

Background on the Call to Action:

BC_CEDAW_Report_Jan03final.doc243 KB