Jane Hutt AM, Deputy Minister and Chief Whip
The UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is described as an international bill of rights for women. By accepting the Convention, States commit to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:
- to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women;
- to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and
- to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.
On 26 February 2019, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is signatory to this Convention, took part in an examination on its compliance with CEDAW.
Welsh Government officials attended the one-day examination at the Palais des Nations in Geneva as part of the UK delegation, alongside officials from UK Government and other Devolved Administrations. The presence of our officials ensured that Wales and Welsh issues were represented and raised during the examination process. The examination was an opportunity to highlight the work of the Welsh Government to promote and protect the rights of women and girls, and also identify ways to build on our progress.
On 11 March 2019, the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women published its Concluding Observations. The Concluding Observations contain a list of recommendations for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to take forward over the next 4 years:
We welcome the Concluding Observations and we will now consider how we can take forward the recommendations as part of our future work, in particular the ongoing review of gender equality in Wales. My officials will meet with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales to discuss these recommendations, as well as the other issues raised by these organisations during their engagement with the UN Committee.
I am grateful for the valuable contribution from the third sector leading up to and during the examination of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Their work to gather the views and experiences of women from across Wales, and then relay that information to the UN via written reports and face to face meetings, ensured that voices from all backgrounds were heard during this process. Staff from both WEN Wales and EHRC also travelled to Geneva and provided further insight to the UN Committee prior to the examination.
The UN Committee requests that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland submit a report in March 2023 outlining its progress in implementing these recommendations, as well as other actions relating to the advancement of the rights of women and girls since the 2019 examination.