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February 2006

Announcement of a publication

Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Guidelines for reporting on Article 14


A number of international Conventions and Declarations designed to promote equal rights for men and women have been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Despite all these instruments, however, there is still evident and serious discrimination against women, hampering their participation in the social, political, economic and cultural life of their countries in flagrant violation of the principles of equal rights and respect for human dignity.

Rural women in developing countries comprise the poorest and least favoured group. Mindful of this major concern, members of the United Nations General Assembly therefore decided to adopt the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Resolution 34/180 of 18 December 1979, which came into force on 3 September 1981.The Convention, founded on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948 and the United Nations Charter of 26 June 1945 defines the equal rights of women and addresses the removal of any direct or indirect discrimination against women.

States that have ratified the CEDAW, called States Parties, number 180 as of 18 March, 2005. They are under the obligation to combat discrimination in order to ensure that the Convention is correctly implemented, and are thus committed to taking the appropriate measures to defend and promote civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights of women through the adoption of laws and policies such as those guaranteeing the right to work, equitable access to employment, the right to land and property, the right to freedom of expression and association, the right to organise self-help groups and cooperatives, the right to education and training, the right to non-discrimination, and so forth.

States Parties have also accepted to carry out periodic reviews and, if necessary, revise, abrogate or extend laws passed in the aforementioned context as scientific and technical knowledge evolves. In this context it should be noted that FAO provides assistance by recognising and documenting the situation of rural women, by providing policy advice and implementing programmes with member countries to facilitate women’s participation in rural and agricultural development. The 1996 World Food Summit, followed by the World Food Summit: five years later and the Medium-Term Plan: Strategic Framework for FAO 2000-2015, have tirelessly pursued the primary objective of support for rural women.

(Also available in French and Spanish)

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