Women’s Discrimination: What is CEDAW

The CEDAW logo

Since CEDAW will become a major issue in the forthcoming People’s Tribunal to be held later this year. I thought it might be worth publishing what exactly the Convention says . A number of people have asked what exactly it means for them. Some wonder whether it can help the 3.8 million people who lost their case in the courts and were refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

If you read this it sounds idealistic rather like some of the great statements of the past whether it was the founding fathers of the American Constitution or the founding charter of the United Nations. The reason why it is important is once this statement is written into law it follows that the law of the country has to change and people can cite the new law to end discrimination and protect their rights. This is statement is followed by an action plan on how the government of the day has to implement it. No wonder it has not yet been incorporated into English law.

Many many issues of discrimination against women will be affected

The answer is that all women would be affected by the change. CEDAW was cited by BackTo60’s lawyers in their case – but because even though the convention, ratified by Margaret Thatcher, is applicable in the courts and in Parliament because it had not been put into domestic law the judiciary they appear not to understand its implications.. If it was not only the 50swomen case but many, many other issues of discrimination against women will be on much stronger grounds.

Should as current opinion polls show the Scottish National Party win next month’s Parliamentary elections one of the first moves will include legislating to incorporate CEDAW into Scottish law. This will provide an early example of how effective the change will be for women and girls.


The States Parties to the present Convention,

Noting that the Charter of the United Nations reaffirms faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women,

Noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the principle of the inadmissibility of discrimination and proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, including distinction based on sex,

Noting that the States Parties to the International Covenants on Human Rights have the obligation to ensure the equal rights of men and women to enjoy all economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights,

Considering the international conventions concluded under the auspices of the United Nations and the specialized agencies promoting equality of rights of men and women,

Noting also the resolutions, declarations and recommendations adopted by the United Nations and the specialized agencies promoting equality of rights of men and women,

Concerned, however, that despite these various instruments extensive discrimination against women continues to exist,

Recalling that discrimination against women violates the principles of equality of rights and respect for human dignity, is an obstacle to the participation of women, on equal terms with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life of their countries, hampers the growth of the prosperity of society and the family and makes more difficult the full development of the potentialities of women in the service of their countries and of humanity,

Concerned that in situations of poverty women have the least access to food, health, education, training and opportunities for employment and other needs,

Convinced that the establishment of the new international economic order based on equity and justice will contribute significantly towards the promotion of equality between men and women,

Emphasizing that the eradication of apartheid, all forms of racism, racial discrimination, colonialism, neo-colonialism, aggression, foreign occupation and domination and interference in the internal affairs of States is essential to the full enjoyment of the rights of men and women,

Affirming that the strengthening of international peace and security, the relaxation of international tension, mutual co-operation among all States irrespective of their social and economic systems, general and complete disarmament, in particular nuclear disarmament under strict and effective international control, the affirmation of the principles of justice, equality and mutual benefit in relations among countries and the realization of the right of peoples under alien and colonial domination and foreign occupation to self-determination and independence, as well as respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity, will promote social progress and development and as a consequence will contribute to the attainment of full equality between men and women,

Convinced that the full and complete development of a country, the welfare of the world and the cause of peace require the maximum participation of women on equal terms with men in all fields,

Bearing in mind the great contribution of women to the welfare of the family and to the development of society, so far not fully recognized, the social significance of maternity and the role of both parents in the family and in the upbringing of children, and aware that the role of women in procreation should not be a basis for discrimination but that the upbringing of children requires a sharing of responsibility between men and women and society as a whole,

Aware that a change in the traditional role of men as well as the role of women in society and in the family is needed to achieve full equality between men and women,

Determined to implement the principles set forth in the Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and, for that purpose, to adopt the measures required for the elimination of such discrimination in all its forms and manifestations,

11 thoughts on “Women’s Discrimination: What is CEDAW

  1. Well done David and Cedaw, keep fighting, if they sanction this, will Back to 60 be able to appeal against the supreme Court for justice for all the 50s women for the right of there legal pension, or compensation.

    Good Luck


    • That’s my question. They will probably come back with . This has only just made law . Ok for the younger generation. But ? To the older ones is a big question


  2. As I Read through this I find it very interesting.
    Firstly about back to fifty.
    Second Human rights issue.
    I feel human rights are not with held in the Uk
    Pension Credit is paid to people that haven’t enough contribution towards there pension. Money they get is £40 a week more than myself having paid full contributions for 45 odd years Unfair
    Also people getting state pension now with less years than me in contributions also gets more Unfair
    Where is human rights here???


    • Pension Credit as been the main reason why many pensioners do not have to rely upon food banks. So lets get the figures into perspective, Pension Credit will top up your income to £173.75 if you’re single and
      a joint weekly income to £265.20 if you have a partner and provide other benefits. This may be a huge sum to pay to working class people who will make up most of the claimants. In fact it is a £100 more than a single persons unemployment benefit, so why should a single 35 year old be paid £70+ while a 70 year old as a £100 more in his pocket. The fact is that unemployment benefit as never been seen by the state as a living wage but as (scanty portions doled out to them).
      Now, Pension Credit may be seen as providing funds in later life to the feckless and the idle, believe me if Ian Duncan Smith had seen it that way pensioners on Pension Credit would be going to food banks and soup kitchens. One purpose of Pension Credit is to avoid mass poverty amongst pensioners. The second and more important is avoids further strains on the NHS, a diet, even if it includes too much sugar and fats, is better health wise than living with meagre rations and a choice between heating and eating. The NHS would be overwhelmed not with covid but with the effects of poverty on peoples health.
      So poverty and poor health would increase, but you would have reduced the burden on the taxpayer but partially this would be offset by increasing Social & Health Care costs. Maybe its a price worth paying, so why have the Tories not stopped it, I have giving you one answer, the next is the obvious one, but so obvious people miss it. The reason for giving Pension Credit, the State pension is too low, governments are to blame. In the USA Walmart one of the biggest employers in the country went to President Bush demanding he increase the minimum wage, the effects of low wages on the economy was seriously affecting their business and the US business sector as a whole, they raised the minuim wage to boost the economy. Pension credit although seeming a generous handout is nothing of the sort, it is a fiscal stimulus to the economy along with free bus passes. It gives money to people to spend on goods and services which will carry some form of tax, it gets them out (pre covid) so they remain healthier, fitter and lead more independent lives.
      Unfortunately in any redistribution system some people will miss out and many too proud or totally unaware that they could benefit by applying for Pension credit.
      My mother lived on a low state pension and had two small pensions and paid full council tax mainly out of her savings. I often helped her financially then someone suggested just fill in the form for council tax rebate which I did, told her (as she was over 90 she longer needed to pay) so she signed and she got a 100% rebate. She would have never have signed as she was so independent and I got her some pension credit as well. So when people think its a handout or charity its not anything of the sort you are entitled to it, believe me the Tory Party are not a group of philanthropists, they give out Pension Credit for economic reasons not social.


  3. Thank you for this email. I have posted the weblink from Westminster Confidential page on Facebook and Twitter – with an extract of the paragraph regarding SNP intentions in the forthcoming election. Helen Cron


  4. Thank you David. You readers may also be interested in the explanation of CEDAW on the UK Government website. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/convention-on-the-elimination-of-all-forms-of-discrimination-against-women-cedaw-articles. It has a helpful summary of the main articles including Article 2 which confirms the duty of states to “pursue by all appropriate means a policy of eliminating discrimination against women, undertaking to take concrete steps to eliminate discriminatory laws, policies and practices in the national legal framework.” It is worth noting that Article 2 only requires states to “pursue by all appropriate means” and does not make incorporation of the Articles into domestic law mandatory. In 2019 in response to a petition, the Government said “Women and girls’ rights under CEDAW are largely reflected in existing domestic legislation, such as the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998. As such, we do not agree that domestic legislation needs to incorporate all the provisions of CEDAW.”


  5. Just read an article from Sir Steve Webb regarding the thousands of women being paid as little as £1 a week State Pension. Now that he is no longer a Pensions Minister (Conservative/Lib Dem Coaltion) he appears to be a leopard that has changed his spots and is now on the side of these cheated women. In the article he states that a good chunk of these women would be owed tens of thousands of pounds, he describes it as like holding a winning Lottery ticket. Shame he wasn’t so vocal when he was Minister for Pensions when he had the chance to right the wrong done to the 50’s Women.


  6. Dear David Please can you share this post? I cant find a way to share to Facebook. Its really vital we 50s women can push this issue. As a Scottish resident and SNP supporter I want to tell voters about this. Its indicative of the progressive mindset of the country and the reason why we need independence. The British government policies are destructive unjust and not what Scotland votes for. We don’t want this unequal discriminatory approach to how we live our lives. Its creating misery poverty and poorer lives. I am grateful for all you have done to work for justice. For us and others. Thank you All the best Katherine Scaife Southerness Scotland.

    On Thu, 8 Apr 2021, 11:41 Westminster Confidential, wrote:

    > davidhencke posted: ” The CEDAW logo Since CEDAW will become a major issue > in the forthcoming People’s Tribunal to be held later this year. I thought > it might be worth publishing what exactly the Convention says . A number of > people have asked what exactly it means for the” >


    • Katherine. The post is automatically shared on Facebook when it is published at davidhencke.com – It also get comments on Facebook and is read by people who read it on Facebook @davidhenckeblog


  7. 1.I had to wait 3 years for my Pension without much notice
    2.I then found I was placed on the old rate pre April 6th 2016,having full contributions .Friends just a couple of months younger were placed on the new higher basic rate .
    3.Then I find a Man born in the same year as me with the same DOB was placed on the new rate post April 6th 2016 and likely to have also received credits
    4. Being placed on the old rate meant that because I was assessed on the old rate at 2.5% .I had a lower actual increase than the people on the new higher rate at 2.5%.,.Compounded interest means the gap will become larger between the two rates as time goes on
    I feel that I and other Women born at the same time have been discriminated against.All Women at the very least, that had to wait for their pension past 60 years should have all been placed on the same rate ..on a figure somewhere between £134 and £175 .I also personally feel that Women should be offered at the very least £5000 for every year that their Pension date was delayed .
    Thank you


  8. If any person delays claiming their pensions it was deferred. So as an opinion why wasn’t women offered this as consequence of the delays. this would have given the women restitution for the informed delay.. that still allow the government to shift the money collected to other sources that they believed was theirs to manipulate. 6 years notice to repay and no interest that a better rate then the Chinese…or the IMF, we stand only now.


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