Time for a Women’s Rights Law and real radical change – CEDAW President’s report

Jocelynne Scutt, President of the CEDAW People’s Tribunal

A major blueprint for how the United Kingdom can transform its laws to end all forms of discrimination against women and properly implement the UN convention ratified by Margaret Thatcher in 1986 has been published by the CEDAW People’s Tribunal.

The 252 page report written by Jocelynne Scutt, with the backing of a researcher team,, proposes to end the piecemeal implementation of parts of the UN Convention Eliminating All Forms of Discrimination, both in national law and in different parts of the UK.

Its conclusion said: “The proposal now made by the CEDAW People’s Tribunal that the United Kingdom seize the opportunity now presented to it and introduce a Women’s Bill of Rights into the United Kingdom Parliament provides
a real opportunity to do this – create a climate where women’s rights are truly recognised as human rights, and human rights as women’s rights – with the United Kingdom taking the lead.”

it says it is time to replace fine words by politicians on women’s rights with deeds and includes comprehensive proposals backed up by research for almost every conceivable area of British life to improve the rights of women. Indeed in the space of one article it is impossible to encompass every area of this report – you will have to read and study it for yourself.

The shortcomings of the Equality Act

Some of the more dramatic findings reveal shortcomings in the 2010 Equality Act – which is probably the UK’s major contribution to women’s rights – both in sections that have never been implemented and the fact that its provisions don’t apply to Northern Ireland – which the present government insists should remain an integral part of the UK.

To back up that last point the report said:
” No devolved authority to have the power to undercut or reduce the provisions, extent or scope of the Women’s Bill of Rights and to address any potential conflict or proposal by any devolved authority to do so, the UK Act to include a provision prohibiting its terms from being excised from operation in the devolved jurisdictions. This provision to be based in the principle herein stated, namely that all women of the United Kingdom, wherever residing, are entitled to equal rights without being deprived of them by reason of residency in any devolved jurisdiction.”

But it does not rule out as Scotland and Wales introducing their own legislation both to improve any UK Act or if the government doesn’t introduce any legislation for Scotland and Wales to go ahead with their own law as they are proposing to do now.

Royal Courts of Justice – time judges learnt about CEDAW

The report also insisted on widespread training for lawyers and public officials on what CEDAW means.

“That the Women’s Bill of Rights include a provision making it mandatory for members of the judiciary and magistracy at all levels to receive education and training on an initial and regular basis, including remaining up to date with CEDAW jurisprudence, and that this provision extend to all holders of public office, whether by appointment or election, in international, national and local bodies and authorities.”

This is a point I felt during the Court of Appeal hearing on the judicial review of women’s pensions that the judges did not seem to have a clue about CEDAW – and in my view this contributed to their decision to throw out the case.

It also makes it mandatory for every piece of legislation to have a gender impact assessment and for all government departments to have a gender impact assessment for every new policy they introduce. Since women are the majority in this country I would have thought that to be essential.

The report picked up that many women do not understand their rights because it is not presented in simple and clear language and the information is not available ( take the 50swomen case in informing women about the rise in the pension age for example).

The ” whole person ” approach to women’s rights and discrimination

There is also a failure to connect discrimination against women to other serious forms of discrimination. As the report said:

“The discrimination of women based on sex and gender is inextricably linked with other factors that affect women, such as race, ethnicity, religion or belief, health, status, age, class, caste and sexual orientation and gender identity. Discrimination on the basis of sex or gender may affect women belonging to such groups to a different degree or in different ways to men. States parties must legally recognize such intersecting forms of discrimination and their compounded negative impact on the women concerned and prohibit them.”

Where is particularly bad the report said the government should use “special measures” – specific legislation to address the problem – to end this inequality.

The report looked at major policy issues such as Brexit, climate change, the Covid 19 pandemic and the Windrush scandal and how they affected women.

It quoted evidence on how these separate issues impacted on each other. One passage read:

“The evidence further provided a snapshot view of the rise in hostility in the lead-up to, the confirmation of, and the continuing aftermath of Brexit. The Covid pandemic has exacerbated this, in that because Black and minoritised women (along with their male counterparts) have been in the forefront – both as doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and cleaning staff in hospitals, and suffering from being more susceptible to the virus – this has militated against their interests in the community, too – drawing racist attacks as if they are to blame because of that greater susceptibility”.

It tackled controversial issues such as migration, asylum seekers, women being detained in prison and made strong recommendations on how to deal with these issues. And it dealt with the lack of equal pay for women, and being forced by the partners into credit debts -coining the phrase ” sexually transmitted debt.”

” Sexually transmitted debt”

“This term, coined by lawyer Jenny Lawton and barrister Emma Swart recognises the position of women who, believing
their signature does not ‘count’ and under pressure that is difficult or impossible to counter, sign contracts – including mortgages and guarantees – at the behest of husband or partner, plunging them into debts they did not envisage, from which they do not profit, and which they did not wish to accumulate. Not infrequently, this occurs with the complicity, to a greater or lesser degree and even amounting to collusion, with banks or other financial providers.”

It also looked at faith marriages among the South Asian community which are not recognised by civil law and how they can lead to polygamous marriages, trafficking and women left with nothing in a divorce settlement.

This gives you an idea both of the breadth of issues covered by the tribunal and the need for widespread reform in many areas to give women full rights. And I haven’t touched on violence against women and domestic abuse.

This is truly a major document and a basis for major campaign to change the entire approach to women’s rights. Read it, digest it, and go forward and campaign for change.

13 thoughts on “Time for a Women’s Rights Law and real radical change – CEDAW President’s report

  1. Julie
    As a woman still waiting for her stolen pension

    Pleased to see the. CEDAW report from the people’s tribunal for change on discrimination to Women in the United Kingdom having said that unless the CEDAW judges have the power to bring in by law a women’s bill of rights Boris Johnson and his masochistic government won’t let this happen he doesn’t want the threat of equal rights for women notice he doesn’t have many women in his government he used tax payers money to fight 1950s women over there lost pensions in the high court with their QC James Eadie
    I wish I could be more positive but I feel this will be a long flight.
    Thanks to all concerned with CEDAW

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  2. All acts, statues and legislation are completely unlawful the government are imposters and have been for 40 years, see FCO 30/1048

    Click to access Brittide%20petmine.pdf


    (Evidence of treason)
    since the queen was deposed on 23rd march 2001 by 4 peers after her treasonous response regarding Tony Blair’s signing of the treaty of nice handing over uk and commonwealth to foreign powers. See archive the telegraph 24th march 2001 This has been hidden from us for 20 years until now, the people are rising up and taking back our sovereign rights. So these imposters raised the pension age unlawfully, deprived us of funds that belong to us anyway through the cestui que vie. (Unimpressive sanctum) do your research people. Enough is enough!

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  3. How is CEDAW defining women, please, David? If they are including men who pretend they are women, then they are giving away the rights of women to men, decimating our lives, putting us in danger, girls too. This is SO important to have clarification on. I look forward to your reply. Thank you.

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    • The report proposes a much wider definition of women’s rights than under the Equality Act. This what it says: “Women comprise
      a diverse range of human beings, by reference to all attributes, characteristics and identities affirmed
      in CEDAW, some of which are included in the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act in itself is incomplete,
      with gaps in the recognition of the diversity of women, who represent and are represented in the vast
      range of possibilities, including but not limited to Black and minoritised women, women with a disability,
      women young, mature, ageing and aged, women with political, industrial and religious affiliation,
      membership and activity, women with family responsibilities, women with pregnancy and maternity
      needs, women of diverse sexualities, and more.”

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      • Thank you for replying. But, does CEDAW regard men who say they’re women AS women, David, be they the owner of a GRC or not? This is SO important, for if CEDAW is including Trans Identifying Males AS women, then they are fighting AGAINST the rights of women, not for them. It is an incredibly important question for them to answer, and the fact they keep evading the answer, is deeply concerning to me.

        If they agree that men are women, then they stand for males being able to enter all the public, intimate spaces of women and girls, including women’s public toilets/changing rooms/showers/hospital wards/prisons and rape refuges/etc. They’d also be backing the official recording of male crimes as having been done by women (!!!), which is already happening, as with males invading our spaces mentioned above…and crimes even such as rape/child rape/sexual abuse, done by men IS being officially recorded as having been done by women, should these men demand they are women. Also, if a woman has been raped/sexually abused, and in Court her male rapist/abuser demands to be called a woman, referred to as ‘she/her’ throughout, by all in Court, including his victim, she HAS to adhere to this, or else be held in contempt of court. This too has already happened. It’s forcing women to commmit perjury.

        Most people are not aware of the HUGE impact upon women and children, by Transworld, and of course, Nicola Sturgeon is dismantling ALL the rights of women, as I write this, even changing the meaning of the definition of the words ‘woman/women’ to include MALES.

        It is absoutely horrific and the biggest threat to women and girls in my lifetime.

        CEDAW cannot say they are fighting for the rights of women, if they include males in their definition of women.

        So, I ask again, how does CEDAW define the terms ‘woman/women’, please?

        Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 2. Also, I forgot to add earlier in my previous post, that if CEDAW backs men who say they are women, it also takes away all ‘women only’ jobs, as these males can apply for them, pushing women out of jobs which they, and they alone, should have.

        Sex NOT Gender, is vitally important and if women are erased, as a sex, we can no longer fight, as a sex, nor against the sex (males) who have done this to us.

        CEDAW need to wake up, and realise what is being done to women. They need to find courage and speak out FOR women and women alone. This WAR against us by Transworld has gone WAY too far. Live as you choose, but never try to remove the rights of women and girls, nor our safety/privacy/dignity/sports etc.etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great but an even greater pity it’s too late for us 50’s women. Still hopefully it will be there for my daughter and granddaughters but going by past events I won’t hold my breath.

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  5. I really hope the government will implement this very important document. It sounds very professional and I do hope it becomes law. We can only hope, it would make such a difference to women and girls. A big thank you to David hencke for all your support over these years, bless you.

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  6. Many thanks to all concerned in the fight for women’s rights.
    I am a woman in my late sixties l left school at sixteen and have worked my way up to management in the company l work for.
    Divorced own my own house brought my son up all on my own.
    I, am truly disappointed and discussed at the way fifties women have been treated. Thanks again to all concerned.

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  7. An opportunity to demonstrate true equality of opportunity for women? Surely this should be what the UK government should prioritise, enabling the UK to act as a role model, for other countries that fail women? I suspect this government will fudge this opportunity whilst still spouting their ‘global leader’ gaslighting rhetoric.

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  8. Sadly its come too late for the 50’s ladies. What a truly appalling way we have been treated over our lives with embedded inequalities and shocking discrimination suffered by us over the years. Being deprived of our rightful pension at 60 is an outstanding example of it still carrying on to this day.

    Like

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