The 41st session of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) will be taking place at the United Nations in New York City, commencing on the 30th of June. CEDAW, an international human rights treaty for women, was first adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979. Since then, 185 nation states have become party to it, including Afghanistan, Chile, China, Iraq, and the Congo. Although the United States of America has not yet ratified the treaty, this has not prevented it from becoming one of the most highly ratified international human rights conventions.

During the upcoming 41st session, the CEDAW committee will review the reports submitted by Iceland, Finland, Lithuania, Nigeria, Slovakia, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and Yemen. The Committee, upon considering the reports, will also present recommendations for each government and, under the statutes of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW, may further investigate into any countries whose reports they find inadequate due to contradictory or additional information.

The full text of the convention can be found at the International Women’s Rights Action Watch website, which also has good information about how NGOs can participate. Want a historical perspective? Consider ordering and reading “The Circle of Empowerment“, edited by Hanna Beate Schopp-Schilling.

To date, governments which have yet to ratify include Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and the United States of America.