Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly. Described as an international bill of rights for women, it came into force on 3 September 1981 and has been ratified by 188 states.

The Convention defines discrimination against women in the following terms:Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.

States ratifying the Convention are required to enshrine gender equality into their domestic legislation, repeal all discriminatory provisions in their laws, and enact new provisions to guard against discrimination against women. However, special protection for maternity is not regarded as gender discrimination (Article 4). Appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of trafficking in women and forced prostitution are also not regarded as gender discrimination (Article 6). Equal opportunity in education for female students is required, and coeducation is encouraged. (Article10). States ratifying the Convention must also establish tribunals and public institutions to guarantee women effective protection against discrimination, and take steps to eliminate all forms of discrimination practiced against women by individuals, organizations, and enterprises (Article 2,(e))Signatories are required to submit periodic reports to the UN committee on CEDAW and these are followed by Concluding Observations and recommendations to respective statesrequesting them to prioritize critical issues of violence against women, particularly girls, including those justified by traditional/cultural beliefs (such as early marriage and FGM); limited opportunities for access and retention of girls in school as well as limited provision of reproductive health care for adolescent girls/women.

In order to ensure that girls and women enjoy their rights, development partners have embraced gender equality to supplement the efforts of government. Among these is Plan International a child focused non – government Organization which has engaged in CEDAW initiatives bringing together the legislature, judiciary and CSOs to create awareness; advocate for gender sensitive legislation among others. This empowers not only CSOs to be able to monitor CEDAW implementation but the right holders as well to demand for accountability from the duty bearers.

Currently Plan Uganda in partnership with Forum for African Women Educationalists Uganda Chapter (FAWEU) is implementing a project: Making CEDAW meaningful in Uganda: Realizing Adolescent girls’ rightsprojectin the districts of Luwero, Lira and Tororo. It contributes to the overall Gender Based Violence project objective of contributing to the reduction of gender based violence incidences against girls and young women in Kampala district. Some of the activities to be implemented include; awareness creation among teachers and children using the CEDAW manual; training for school club leaders and training of boys/men s agents of change and “gender resource persons”

Members of Parliament during CEDAW training workshop.



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Cedaw Accomplishments

  • Held training workshops in 3 districts of Lira, Luwero and Tororo in 3 secondary schools and 6 primary schools totaling 151 students (99 girls, 52 boys) and 36 teachers (18 Female, 18 Male)