Applying international standards on the rights of women

Enforcing international norms on the rights of women

Action by governments to address this objective might include ratification of, or accession to, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, if they have not done so, limiting the extent of any reservations and reconsidering and removing substantive reservations, in particular those which are contrary to the object and purpose of the Convention, with a view to strengthening it and its effective implementation through the adoption and adjustment of all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures. Further action might include reform of the judicial system to make it more responsive to women, and establishing and strengthening institutions, such as ombudsmen, in order to help women pursue their rights, while recognizing that it is the right of each state to choose the framework that is best suited to its particular needs at the national level. Further action might include supplying pertinent information on the situation of women de jure and de facto in all reports to human rights treaty bodies and widely disseminating information on women's human rights in the national context.

Action by non-governmental organizations might include undertaking campaigns to increase women's legal literacy, organizing paralegal assistance programmes and other forms of assistance to women using the judicial system, and undertaking independent monitoring of government compliance with international norms. Further action might include training of trainers in order to facilitate wider dissemination of legal literacy with a gender perspective. Action might also include access to the media by non-governmental organizations in order to create public awareness of women's rights and to publicize women's rights campaigns and legal reforms.

Action by organizations of the United Nations system might include improving the servicing of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and integrating women's concerns into the work of all other human rights mechanisms. Further action might include organizing campaigns for universal ratification of, and accession to, the Convention and, in consultation with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, considering opening a dialogue with states that have not yet acceded to the Convention, in order to identify obstacles and to seek ways of overcoming them. Consideration could be given to introducing the right of petition through the preparation of an optional protocol to the Convention to provide for a complaints procedure and to increasing resources to provide for training, advisory services and technical assistance in the implementation of the Convention. Other action might include steps to strengthen coordination between United Nations bodies concerned with the human rights of women.


This strategic objective formed part of the Platform for Action of the United Nations Fourth World Conference for Women (Beijing, 1995). The Vienna Declaration (1993) recognized public and private violence against women as an abuse of human rights.

Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions