This chapter explores women’s status at the beginning of the 21st century and introduces the
reader to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
[CEDAW]. The Convention is the most comprehensive international treaty on women’s issues
and therefore the book's starting point.
Each document has its own box. The box contains, on the top bold line, the name of the document.
This is followed by the legal citation (not in bold). Under these lines, the box contains one or more
sources for opening the document. In the left-hand column (“HTML” or “PDF”), the reader can access
the official document copy, hosted on RossRights. This permits rapid access to the document. In the
right-hand column (“External Link”), the reader can access the same document on an official website.
This link will often take more time to appear than the PDF or HTML copy, but should be used for
official legal citations.
For all United Nations Treaties, the source marked "Original" contains the UN General Assembly
Resolution (G.A. res.) adopting the relevant treaty, which is found in the "Annex" following the
Resolution. The source marked "UN High Comm'r for Human Rights" contains the relevant treaty,
without the G.A. res.
When a link requires searching for a symbol (such as "A/RES/54/4"), follow the link, click on the
Simple Search button to access the search engine, then type the symbol into the "Symbol" field
and click "Search."
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,G.A. res. 34/180, 34 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 46) at 193, U.N. Doc. A/34/46, entered into force Sept. 3, 1981.
|UN High Comm'r for Human Rights||External Link|
*Document begins at the bottom right of the first page.
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,
|UN High Comm'r for Human Rights||External Link*|
^Search for Symbol "A/RES/54/4", then scroll to the bottom of the page and click the last link.
*Click on the "E" below "Optional Protocol" on the left sidebar.
|CEDAW [Committee] Rules for Complaints Procedure|
|United Nations||External Link^|
UN High Comm'r for Human Rights
^Only includes Section III.
*Scroll down to Section III for the rules relating to the Complaints Procedure.
Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties,
1155 U.N.T.S. 331, 8 I.L.M. 679, entered into force Jan. 27, 1980.
|United Nations||External Link|
Treaty Reference Guide
U.N. Treaty Collection
|Physicians for Human Rights||External Link|
|Afghanistan Constitution (2004)|
The Secretary-General, Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of Women and Girls in Afghanistan,
*Search for Symbol "E/CN.6/2003/4", then click on the link.
Afghanistan is located in Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran.
Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%
Afghan woman covered by a burqua carrying a package.
Attribution: Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. License: Creative Commons
Further Update: The following article is in reference to the Note, "Women in Politics,"
on page 11:
Four Women Win Seats in Kuwait Parliament,
Robert F. Worth, First Women Win Seats in Kuwait Parliament, N.Y. Times, May 18, 2009, at A4
|New York Times Company||External Link|
Below is an article from Human Rights Watch which details the subjugation of women
as second class citizens in Saudi Arabia. As detailed in the article, women still
must be accompanied by a male guardian to do normal tasks like receiving medical care.
Saudi Arabia: Women's Rights Promises Being Broken,
Human Rights Watch: Saudi Arabia: Women's Rights Promises Being Broken, Human Rights Watch, July 9, 2009, available at http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/07/08/saudi-arabia-women-s-rights-promises-broken
|Human Rights Watch||External Link|
Below are two reports from the United Nations Office of High Commissioner
for Human Rights and the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan detailing
the rampant abuse of women that continues in Afghanistan.
Silence is Violence: End the Abuse of Women in Afghanistan,
OHCHR & UNAMA (8 July 2009), available at http://reliefweb.int/node/316288
United Nations High Comm'r for Human Rights
and U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan
Harmful Traditional Practices and Implementation of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan,
OHCHR & UNAMA (9 December 2010), available at
U.N. Office of the High Comm'r for Human
and U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan