Thursday, August 23, 2007

CEDAW and women

On July 17, 1980 at the Copenhagen Conference 64 states signed the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.) It was preceded by a formal Declaration which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on November 7, 1967. This Convention grew out of the Commission on the Status of Women that was in place upon creation of the International Bill of Human Rights. Iran to this day is not a party to the Convention. Others who are, pay only a lip-service to it, and the oppression of women in many parts of the world is still a reality. While the women's rights activists have played a major role in improving the enforcement of human rights for women, much work is still required... Women, however, are not silent any more in stark contrast with the near past. When the French government banned the Islamic headscarf in public schools, women marched in the streets chanting, "Headscarf is our choice!" When a girl was raped by tribal leaders in a small Pakistani village, she was not ashamed to come out, speak out and draw the attention of the human rights activists (which resulted in punitive measures for the rapists). So, women are expressing themselves. But it remains to be seen whether governments and state parties to international conventions will make serious efforts to enforce the treaties they have signed on to.

Women symbolize nurturing force, beauty and kindness that could save the world from all its calamities... Sandro Botticelli (1444-1510) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) envisioned that in their paintings.

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