CWP is going to CEDAW!

Did you know that next week, Canada is going to be under review for its compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)? CWP, along with other NGOs, will be in Geneva on the ground to take part in the review process.

First things first: CEDAW is an international human rights document that specifically protects women’s rights. It was adopted by the General Assembly at the UN in 1979 and ratified by Canada in 1981. The CEDAW Committee, a group of women’s rights experts from around the world, is in charge of monitoring how countries that have ratified CEDAW are implementing it. Countries are required to periodically report on their progress and the Committee then reviews their efforts and offers observations.

The last time Canada was reviewed under CEDAW was in 2008. There are a lot of updates to catch the Committee up on from the last eight years, which is where CWP comes in.

NGOs at the review in Geneva will offer alternate perspectives on the country’s implementation. This starts with written submissions which give a snapshot of what’s happening with women in Canada. CWP’s ten-page document focuses on issues relating to women experiencing poverty, such as: the wage gap; the need for rights-based national strategies for childcare, housing and poverty; woefully inadequate social assistance rates for women; and the unique challenges associated with food and housing insecurity for women.

Check out a sneak peek of our submission, below (and click here to read the entire submission):

Recent initiatives including commitment to the creation of a National Housing Strategy, increased funding to Status of Women Canada, the re-instatement of the long-form census and commitment to the creation of a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy are all steps the federal government has taken that could be in keeping with their international human rights obligations under CEDAW. However, most of these initiatives do not incorporate a rights-based or gendered approach and there is resistance to do so. There remains a disconnect between Canada’s recognition of economic and social rights and the development and implementation of domestic policies.

The President of CWP’s Board, Harriett MacLachlan, along with our Legal Education and Outreach Coordinator, Michèle Biss, will be travelling to Geneva to actively participate in Canada’s review. They will be stressing the importance of using a human rights and gender based approach to all laws, policies and programs.

They will also be sharing photos and videos explaining their experiences – follow along on social media and check out CWP’s website for more updates!